Health Information on Colds and Flu

How To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Cold & Flu

Fall and winter are peak seasons for viral illnesses such as flu, respiratory infections and colds.

Flu can hit people hard, with an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. each year.

A flu shot is a very good way to help prevent getting the flu. There are other important ways that you can protect yourself and others from catching or spread the flu or other illnesses:


Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Or cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Clean your hands
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Or, cleans hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
Clean Surfaces
Clean frequently touched hard surfaces such as door knobs and phone hand sets with a 1:10 solution of chlorine bleach to water or a commercial germicide or viracide.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Get rest, eat healthy foods and limit stress.
Watch and help toddlers
Toddler age children (under 6 years) are most frequently the "carrier" of the flu virus due to their lack of hand hygiene.

Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Always contact your personal physician for questions about your health. If you are elderly or have a chronic health condition, consult your medical provider about pneumonia vaccine.

The following is a guide to determine whether you have the flu or a cold:

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare in adults and older children, but can be as high as 102 degrees in infants and small children Usually 102 degrees F, but can go up to 104 degrees F and usually lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Rare Sudden onset and can be severe
Muscle aches mild usual, and often severe
Tiredness and weakness mild Often extreme, and can last two or more weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Sudden onset and can be severe
Runny nose Often Sometimes