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  • Flu

    Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu shot.

    The flu (also called influenza) is a serious—sometimes deadly—respiratory illness. Getting a flu shot is the best protection against the flu.

    You can get a flu shot as soon as they become available in late summer or early fall. It’s best to get vaccinated before flu starts circulating. It’s not too late to get a flu shot later in the flu season.

    Get a flu shot at a pharmacy or clinic near you. Visit Find Flu Vaccine for locations.

    What you need to know about the flu.

    The flu is more than just a bad cold—it’s a serious respiratory illness. Each year, the flu kills hundreds of people in Washington and sends thousands more to the hospital.

    Anyone can get sick with the flu. They can have fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches for 2 weeks or more. Some people are at high risk for severe illness:

    • Children under 5 (especially under 2).
    • Adults 65 or older.
    • Pregnant.
    • Living with a health condition like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.

      The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu shot. It protects you and those around you.

      Good health practices help stop flu.

        • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
        • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
        • Stay home when you’re sick and call a healthcare provider. 

        Flu signs and symptoms

          • Fever over 100.4°F or feeling feverish/chills.
          • Cough.
          • Sore throat.
          • Runny or stuffy nose.
          • Muscle or body aches.
          • Headaches.
          • Vomiting or diarrhea (sometimes).

          Flu treatment

          You can treat the flu with medicine—if you get to the doctor early. The medications work best when you begin treatment within 48 hours of feeling sick. Treatment can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of complications and death. Ask your healthcare provider about your treatment options.