The following information is provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
If you have fever with cough or sore throat, you may have the flu. If you think you have the flu, stay home from work and school and avoid contact with others so you do not spread the virus. If you think you might have flu and you need to see your doctor, call ahead and let them know you might have the flu. That way, your doctor’s office can take steps to avoid the spread of flu to others. The doctor may recommend that you be tested for flu.
How can I prevent getting the flu?
Get flu vaccine every year as soon as it is available.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into the inside of your elbow if you don’t have a tissue. Throw tissues away and wash your hands. Always wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Use household cleaners to clean things that are touched often, like door knobs, toys, and phones.
Avoid close physical contact with people who are sick. Try to stay at least 3-6 feet from someone who is sick with the flu.
Stay home from work and school if you get sick with a flu-like illness (fever with cough or sore throat) and avoid contact with others so the virus does not spread. Stay at home until you have been free from fever for at least 24 hours after your last dose of fever-reducing medication (like Tylenol, Advil or Motrin). For most people this will mean staying at home for about 4 days.
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor, nurse or clinic, or your local board of health (listed in the phone book under local government)
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at (617) 983-6800
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Flu website
- Families Fighting Flu (Advocacy Organization)
MDPH has several fact sheets, booklets, and guides on influenza that you can find on the flu.
Influenza Fact Sheet
The Flu: A Guide for Parents
Parent-friendly fact sheet on common questions on the flu.
- The Flu: A Guide for Parents (MDPH)
- La gripe: Guía para padres (Spanish version)
- Gripe: um guia para os pais (Portuguese version)
Colds versus Flu: How to Tell the Difference
Helpful table illustrating the differences between a cold and the flu.
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