The Centers for Disease control says flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May.
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle or body aches
- fatigue (tiredness)
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.
If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a higher-risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider (doctor, physician assistant, etc.).
Certain people are at increased risk of serious complications: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm
If you are in a higher-risk group and develop flu symptoms, it’s best for you to contact your doctor early in your illness. Remind them about your higher-risk status for flu. CDC recommends that people at higher risk for complications should get antiviral treatment as early as possible, because benefit is greatest if treatment is started within 2 days after illness onset.
CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the need to use a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol®. Until then, you should stay home from work, school, travel, shopping, social events, and public gatherings.
CDC also recommends that children and teenagers (anyone aged 18 years and younger) who have flu or are suspected to have flu should not be given Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) or any salicylate containing products (e.g. Pepto Bismol); this can cause a rare, very serious complication called Reye’s syndrome.