The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the flu is widespread in 29 of the 54 states and territories that it tracks. This time last year, it was widespread in only four.
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
"Influenza vaccination is still the best way to prevent the flu-the vaccine is safe and flu kills," Dr. Carol J. Baker, executive director for the Center for Awareness and Research at Texas Children's Hospital, told NBC News.
Use good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
If possible, stay home from work, school and running errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, sneezing or yawning. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.