Flu Information

About the Flu

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.

  • The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
  • Every year in the United States, on average:
    • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
    • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications
    • about 36,000 people die from flu
  • Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Symptoms of Flu

  • Dry cough
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

How the Flu Spreads

  • Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.
  • Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Flu Prevention Measures

  • Cough into a tissue or sleeve
  • Get the flu vaccine
  • Keep hands away from the mouth, nose and eyes
  • Wash your hands frequently

Information for Parents

Maryland Resident Influenza Tracking Survey

Maryland residents can contribute to influenza surveillance in Maryland; Enroll now. 

Additional Information on the Flu