Flu Symptoms and Prevention - PIH Health

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Published on January 04, 2018

Flu Symptoms and Prevention

Get your flu shot

Do I have a cold or the flu?

It can be difficult to determine whether that sore throat and stuffy nose is the sign of influenza or a cold. Flu season is here. This chart will help prepare you to tell the difference:




High Fever


Yes, 100°F - 102°F (may be higher in young children)



Yes, often severe and starting suddenly

Body Aches

Rare or mild

Yes, often severe and starting suddenly



Yes, can be extreme

Sore Throat

Yes, common

Yes, common


Yes, mild to moderate

Yes, can be severe

Stuffy Nose

Yes, common


How do I keep from getting the flu?

Healthy is as healthy does, and that goes for your whole body, inside and out. Here are some simple ways to keep your immune system in good enough shape to fight off the flu and other germs:

  • Get a flu shot
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Exercise at least four days a week
  • Get seven to nine hours of sleep a night
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Do your best to stay away from people who are sick

Exercise is a particularly good booster for your immune system. Moderate exercise, like a brisk walk, for as little as 45 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce risk of a cold significantly. Your diet matters greatly, too. Try to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.

How do I avoid spreading the flu?

"We want community members to realize that there are steps they can take to protect themselves from the flu and minimize the spread of the flu to others," says Rosalio Lopez MD MBA, PIH Health’s SVP and Chief Medical Officer/Chief Strategic Officer. The flu is spread by droplet. That means we can take steps to avoid getting it or spreading it. If you have a cold or flu or even think you might, here are some simple steps you can take to help stop the spread of germs that can make you or others sick:

  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hand
  • Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze
  • Put your used tissue straight into a waste basket
  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds
  • Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner
  • Wear a surgical mask

“We all want to protect our loved ones, friends and neighbors and the best way to do that is, when we become ill, to limit our exposure to others," Dr. Lopez says. "If you do get sick with flu-like symptoms, it is recommended that you stay home. That way, you will limit contact with others and help them stay healthy this flu season. If your symptoms linger or worsen, see your physician.”

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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