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

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.

Flu Shots

Flu shots are available now for county residents. The Health Department encourages those with insurance to get their vaccinations through their primary care provider or a local pharmacy.

Flu Clinics

Protect yourself and your family from the flu. The Health Department's community clinics are open to ALL COUNTY RESIDENTS. No appointments required. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Injectable flu vaccine will be available to anyone age 6 months and older.

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

Permanent Clinics

Location Day Time
Cheverly Health Center
Prince George’s County Health Department
3003 Hospital Drive, Room 2114, Cheverly, MD 20785
Monday through Friday
9:00 am - 3:00 pm


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

Contact Cheverly Health Center



3003 Hospital Drive
Ground Floor
Cheverly, MD 20785