Got Flu Symptoms? Tips to Avoid Influenza

If you’re feeling flu symptoms, you’re not alone.

The CDC reported that this year’s flu vaccine is likely to be less effective against the flu than it has been in previous years.  There are two reasons for this:

  • Especially dangerous flu strains. One of the most common strains of flu in the United States this year is H3N2, also known as Influenza A, which is one of the most dangerous flu strains.
  • Mutations in the virus. It takes the CDC about four months to create the vaccine, and the H3N2 virus has mutated since the creation of the vaccine, making this year’s flu vaccine much less effective against the current strain of the virus.

According to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, “We know that in seasons when [Influenza A] viruses predominate, we tend to have seasons that are worse flu years, with more hospitalizations from flu and more deaths from influenza. The drifted viruses were first detected in March 2014, when it was already too late to include them in this season’s vaccine.

What are the common flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms include:

  • A fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more and/or chills
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches or headaches
  • Cold symptoms, including a cough, sore throat and a runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea

If you’re feeling these symptoms, it might be time to find a doctor so that you can get checked out and potentially get a prescription for antiviral drugs.

Where are you more likely to get the flu?

Google’s Flu Trends aggregates search terms that indicate flu symptoms to predict flu activity in different areas.  Check out the map below to see flu activity in your state.


Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 1.28.07 PM

How can you avoid the flu?

Doctors recommend several steps to avoid the flu:

  1. Sleep eight hours a night, and sleep more if you’re feeling under the weather.
  2. Eat healthy—make sure to get all your vitamins and minerals
  3. Wash your hands frequently, especially when you are around children

Image from martnak15 // Flickr

Divya Raghavan

Hi! I'm Divya. I lead marketing at BetterDoctor. I'm a Midwesterner, vegetarian and Harvard graduate.