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Sweetsir Health Services

It's time for your Flu vaccine! Call your doctor or pharmacy today.

What is the flu?

Seasonal flu (“the flu”) is caused by a virus that infects your lungs, nose,and throat and makes you sick. Flu season starts in early winter, and continues through early spring every year. The flu comes on very quickly and makes you feel very sick. Most people will feel better within a week.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness/weakness
  • Severe muscle and joint aches
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny/stuffy nose

What is the common cold?

The common cold is caused by germs that affect your nose more than any other part of your body.

Symptoms include:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Wet cough

Is it a cold or is it the flu?  Key differences.


  • You almost never have a fever.
  • You feel stuffiness in your head.
  • You feel a little sick.
  • You can have a cold any time of year.
  • There is no shot to protect you.


  • You have a fever.
  • Your entire body feels sick.
  • You feel very sick.
  • You can have the flu starting in early winter and continuing through early spring.
  • You can get a shot to protect yourself.

How do people get the flu?

Flu spreads easily from person to person. When people with the flu cough or sneeze, the flu virus is in the wet spray that comes out of their nose and mouth.

  • If you are near them, you can breathe in the virus and get sick.
  • The flu virus also gets on things you touch like doorknobs, phones, and toys. After touching these objects, the virus can infect you when you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Lower your chances of getting & spreading the flu:

  • Get a flu shot every year to prevent the flu!
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough into your inner elbow.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Use a household cleaner to clean things that are touched often like:
  • Door and refrigerator handles
  • Computer keyboards/mouse
  • Phones
  • Kids’ toys
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol based hand gel.
  • Keep about 3 to 6 feet between yourself and other people.
  • If you are sick, stay home. You can spread the flu even if you feel better.
  • Adults can spread the flu for about 5 days.
  • Kids can spread the flu for 7 days.
  • If you are breastfeeding your baby and have the flu, you might want to wear a facemask so your baby doesn’t get sick.

Get a flu shot; it's not too late!

Anyone who wants to lower their chances of getting the flu or giving it to someone else should get a flu shot every year.

Pneumonia can be a serious side effect of the flu. Ask your doctor if you also should get a pneumonia shot.

Some of us are more likely to have problems if we get the flu, so it’s very important to get a flu shot every year. This includes:

  • Children 6 months through 18 years old
  • People 50 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain health problems like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease

Talk to your doctor about getting a shot if you have other health problems.

Also, it is extra important to get a flu shot if you live with or take care of:

  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • People 50 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain health problems

How to take care of someone with the flu:

When someone has the flu they feel very sick and tired. They feel achy, have a fever, and may get dehydrated. Here are signs and symptoms you can look for, and ways you can help someone feel better.

Fever is a common symptom of the flu. It can come on suddenly and last for 3 to 5 days.

  • A fever is a higher body temperature than normal. It is measured using a thermometer.
  • Temperatures can be measured by:
  • Rectum (bottom)
  • Ear
  • Mouth
  • Armpit
  • Talk to your doctor about the different types of thermometers you can use, and which one will work best for you and your family members.
  • Digital thermometers are much safer than glass. Glass thermometers can break easily, and the mercury in them is very dangerous.

You Should Call A Doctor About A Fever when:


Under 3 months old - Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

3 months to 5 years old - Fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher

Over 5 years old - Fever of 104°F (40°C) or higher

If a person of any age has a fever for more than 3 days, you should call a doctor.

There are a few ways to treat a fever and make someone feel more comfortable:


  • Give fever-reducing medicines like:
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol® or store brand)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®, or store brand)

You can buy these at most stores and pharmacies. Use medicine that is right for the person’s age. Follow label instructions very carefully.

Keep the room comfortably cool.

Make sure they are wearing light-weight clothing.

Have them drink fluids, especially water.

Consider sponging them with lukewarm water if they have a high fever.

Dehydration can happen when you lose more water than you take in. You lose water when you sweat and even when you breathe. If you do not drink enough, or if you have a fever, diarrhea or vomiting, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration can be a serious problem – especially for small children, the elderly, and people with some illnesses.

Common symptoms of dehydration are:

To prevent dehydration:

  • Feeling thirsty
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Peeing less than usual
  • Pee that looks darker than usual
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drink plenty of fluids like:
  • Water
  • Fruit or vegetable juices
  • Soups (chicken soup) and broths
  • Gatorade® (or store brand) for adults
  • Pedialyte® (or store brand) for kids
  • Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol.
  • Keep drinks the sick person likes close to them so that they can take small sips often.
  • Continue breastfeeding a child who is nursing.

Body aches are also symptoms of the flu. It is normal for a person with the flu to feel weak, tired, and achy. It is also normal to have a headache, a sore throat, dry cough, or a stuffy nose.

To help reduce their body aches, headaches, and tiredness you may want to:

  • Give them medicine. The same medicine you give them for a fever will also help with their other symptoms.
  • Help change their position in bed when they are awake.
  • Help them get out of bed to take a short walk around the room (only 2 or 3 times each day).
  • Make sure it’s quiet and calm so they can rest and relax.

To help with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and dry cough you may want to:

  • Use a clean cool-mist humidifier or steam from a hot shower or bath. This helps keep the nose and throat moist.
  • Ask anyone who smokes not to smoke in the house.
  • Use breathing strips for people having trouble breathing through their nose. Be sure to follow package instructions.
  • Use a saline spray or saltwater rinse in the nose. Only do this for older children and adults.
  • Have them sit up or keep their head raised to help reduce stuffiness. Crib mattresses and children’s beds also can be raised slightly.
  • Gargle with salt water several times a day to help reduce a sore throat or cough. To make salt water, mix ½ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water.

Call the doctor if the patient:



  • Has a fever that lasts more than 3 days
  • Has a fever or cough that goes away for 24 hours or more and then returns
  • Has a fever with:
    • a stiff neck
    • a very bad headache
    • a severe sore throat
    • an earache
    • a rash
  • Has less pee or dark pee
  • Has green, brown-colored, or bloody mucus that comes up when they cough
  • Has severe vomiting or vomits for a long time
  • Has difficulty drinking or taking a bottle
  • Is very fussy or sleepy (infants and children)
  • Has any other unusual symptoms or concerns
  • Has not gotten better after a week

If you are pregnant, or if you have a health problem like diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, it is important to call your doctor when the first flu symptoms appear.

Call 911 for an emergency if someone:

  • Is having trouble breathing – breathing is very fast, difficult, or painful
  • Is having chest pain
  • Is confused or unaware of their surroundings
  • Is unable to wake up
  • Has changes in their speech, or speaks in a way you can’t understand
  • Can’t walk or sit up
  • Has skin that is bluish or gray in color
  • Has a seizure (uncontrolled twitching or shaking)