3 Important Things You Should Know About the Flu

The start of fall is also the start of flu season, as flu activity starts to ramp up in October. While flu viruses may differ from year to year, the numbers surrounding the effect of the flu on Americans on average remain the same — and they’re eye opening.

Each year:
Up to 20% of the U.S. population will be stricken with the flu.
An average of 200,000 people will be hospitalized due to flu-related complications.
Americans will spend an average of $10+ billion on flu-related doctor visits and hospitalizations. 

So, how can you prevent the flu, tell the difference between a cold and the flu, or get through the flu? Here are some helpful tips.

1.How to Prevent the Flu

The simplest way: Get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot (with rare exception). This is especially important for people with certain chronic medical conditions, as they’re at higher risk of flu-related complications. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns.


Other ways to help prevent the flu include:


  • Be Careful What You Touch: During flu season, wash your hands regularly using warm water and soap, especially after shaking hands or touching surfaces in public spaces. And don’t share utensils, glasses, or plates with anyone, even if you think they’re flu-free, as adults can be contagious even before their symptoms start.
  • Follow the Basic Rule of 3: Building your immune system will help you fight off the flu, and comes down to these tried and true basics: Eat a balanced, healthy diet; exercise regularly; and get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.

2.How to Tell if It’s a Cold or the Flu

Uh-oh. Even though you’ve been careful, your nose is running, you’re tired and you feel miserable. How can you tell what you have?


Symptoms of a cold include:

  • runny and/or stuffy nose
  • sneezing and/or coughing
  • sore throat
  • mild headache and/or body aches
  • mild-to-moderate fever
  • mild tiredness


Sick of sneezing? Here are 7 tips to help you prevent a cold.


Symptoms of the flu include:

  • runny and stuffy nose
  • dry, wracking cough and sore throat
  • severe muscle or body aches
  • moderate-to-high fever (not everyone runs a fever)
  • chills and extreme fatigue

3.How to Get Through the Flu

Yep, it’s the flu. So now what do you do? Take care of yourself, and others:


  • Ask About Antivirals: Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that can lessen your symptoms and shorten the flu by 1 to 2 days.
  • Rest and Recover: This is the time to take to your bed, or couch, or anywhere you can relax and get the rest you need, so your body can battle the flu.
  • Drink Up: A fever is your body’s way of fighting back, but it can also be dehydrating. Drink juices, water, electrolyte drinks, and broth-based soups to stay hydrated.
  • Combat Congestion: Keeping your nasal passages and throat moist can help you feel better, and ease congestion. Run a humidifier or sit in a steamy bathroom to help with a stuffy nose and coughs. Then, use saline nose drops or sprays to both moisturize irritated nasal passages and clear away congestion, without irritating your throat. ARM & HAMMER™ Simply Saline™ products are 100% natural, and can be used along with other over-the-counter and prescription medications — as often as needed — to safely flush out nasal and sinus passages, and clear congestion.
  • Keep Your Germs to Yourself: Just one cough or sneeze can expel flu germs up to 6 feet away! Limit your contact with others, cover your coughs and sneezes to prevent the flu from spreading, wash your hands, and stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks.

Flu season starts in October, peaks from December through March, and can last until May. That’s enough time to be exposed to flu germs at least once! But you can do your best to prevent it, or get over it, when you know what to do.













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