Seasonal Flu Information

​Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and less commonly can lead to death. The flu usually comes on suddenly and typically includes fever and cough or sore throat. Other symptoms may include headache, extreme tiredness, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur and are more common in children than adults.

If you are sick with the flu, you may be ill for a week or longer. You should stay home and keep away from others as much as possible, including avoiding travel and not going to work or school, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.)

If you leave the house to seek medical care, wear a facemask, if available and tolerable, and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. In general, you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness

Most people with the flu do not need to see a doctor or go to an emergency department. Most people who get the flu will recover without needing a doctor’s visit, especially people who are generally healthy.

We recommend vaccination for seasonal and H1N1 flu if you are at increased risk for complications. This includes:

  • Children younger than five years old. However, the risk for severe complications from seasonal influenza is highest among children younger than two years old.
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • Persons with the following conditions:
    • Chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological (including sickle cell disease), neurologic, neuromuscular, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);
    • Immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV;
  • Persons younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, because of an increased risk for Reye syndrome.Children and women who are pregnant should see their primary care provider for vaccinations.

  • Children and women who are pregnant should see their primary care provider for vaccinations.
  • Adults can receive vaccination at local pharmacies or from their primary care provider depending on vaccine availability.
  • Seek medical care right away if you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs:
In children:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In adults:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

H1N1 Flu Information

Probable cases of H1N1 influenza, also called swine flu, have been reported in our community, however, most cases have been mild.

Although this virus is normally found in pigs, it is not transmitted from contact with pigs or by eating pork products. The infection is spread person to person through coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated objects. Therefore, in order to protect yourself, family members, and friends remember to wash your hands frequently and cover your cough.  Medical attention is usually not required if you are experiencing mild flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose or nasal stuffiness 
  • Low-grade fever (101.5 F) for fewer than three days 
  • Mild headache 
  • Body aches 
  • Mild stomach upset

However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should stay home from work or school until you are well. It is not necessary for people with mild symptoms to seek medical care just to be tested for swine flu.

You should consult with your health care provider if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever 101.5 F for three days or more
  • Rapidly worsening illness
  • Unresponsive and unable to get out of bed
  • Bad sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe cough
  • Chest pain

​Know the facts about flu

UW Medicine experts, Dr. Timothy Dellit and Dr. Estella Whimbey answer common questions about the flu and share tips to help stay healthy during flu season in this article. If you have further questions, contact your clinic.

Additional Resources