Influenza - Seasonal

Last Updated: September 24, 2020
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​Seasonal flu is an illness caused by influenza viruses that is expected each year. The seasonal flu in the U.S. usually occurs during the winter months; however, cases can occur throughout the year.


Getting your flu shot is more important than ever this year! Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic as both the flu and the virus that causes COVID-19 will be spreading at the same time. Protect yourself and others from preventable respiratory illness by getting your flu shot! Click here for more COVID-19 information.

Seasonal Flu Facts: 

  • The flu is an illness caused by influenza viruses. Because the flu is a viral infection, antibiotics are not an effective form of treatment. Antibiotics are, however, useful in treating secondary bacterial infections that can result from or occur with the flu.
  • It is possible for people to catch the flu by touching objects (telephones, eating utensils, doorknobs, etc…) contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Every year in the U.S., 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu and about 36,000 people die as a result of flu-related causes.
  • The flu season in the U.S. usually occurs during the winter months; however, cases can occur throughout the year.

Symptoms of Seasonal Flu

Most people who get the flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks. Common flu symptoms include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea also can occur but are more common in children than adults
 Flu Vaccine Poster
Flu Vaccine Poster

Preventing Seasonal Flu

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Other ways to prevent catching and spreading the flu include:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand cleaners. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough then put used tissue in the waste basket. If a tissue is not available, then sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow, not your hand.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance or stay home if you are sick.

Health information products (brochures, posters, etc.) on influenza are available online in the APHC Health Information Products eCatalog.

Influenza Guidance, Recommendations and Policies

Government Sources 



General Information on Seasonal Influenza 

Non-Government Sources 

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), the Military Health System (MHS), TRICARE, and the World Health Organization (WHO)