The Flu

Image of woman blowing nose

What is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

How Flu Spreads

The flu viruses spread mainly by tiny 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, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Signs and Symptoms of Illness

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:

  • Fever or Feeling Feverish/Chills (not everyone with flu will have a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Muscle or Body Aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea (more common in young children than in adults)

Periods of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Although people with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins,  some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

How to Prevent Flu

  • Get your flu shot - the flu vaccine can help prevent the flu or lesson your symptoms if you become ill
  • Cover your cough and sneeze - this reduces the chance of spreading the virus to others
  • Avoid or limit contact with people who are sick with the flu
  • Stay home if you are sick - you should stay home until at least 24 hours after you are fever free without the use of medications to reduce your fever
  • Wash your hands frequently ( if soap and water not available, use hand sanitizer)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth - this lesson the possibility of the virus entering your body through mucous membranes
  • Clean high touch or shared surfaces/equipment/objects frequently - surfaces and objects can be contaminated with the flu virus and spread to you if you touch it and then your mouth, nose, or eyes.


For more information regarding flu prevention and updates visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

​​Prepare Residents
The goal of the Health Department is to plan for and prepare residents and visitors to properly respond to an influenza outbreak. Working in partnership, it is also the responsibility of each individual to ensure their preparedness, and the preparedness of family members until additional help is available.

The Prince George’s County Health Department offers Flu Shots to County residents ages 6 months and older.

Flu Clinic Schedule

Flu clinics begin every Fall at the start of Flu season. Visit one of our flu clinics and be stronger than the Flu!

Flu Shots

FREE Flu shots available now for county residents and Prince George’s County employees.

Hours for 2018 Flu Shots

Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - (Except Holidays)


Cheverly Health Center
3003 Hospital Drive, Ground Floor
Cheverly, MD 20785

D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center
9314 Piscataway Road
Clinton, MD 20735


Walk-in basis. No Appointment required.

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