Every fall adults start talking about the flu. They say things like:
"I hope I don't get the flu."
"I sure got a bad case of the flu last year."
"Maybe I should get a flu shot."
What are they talking about?
What is the flu?
The flu they're talking about is caused by a very small germ called a virus. The flu can make you feel sick.
The virus moves from person to person when people cough or sneeze. It also can get on your hands if a sick person touches something like a doorknob and then you touch it.
In the United States people usually start getting the flu in the late fall.
Can you protect yourself from the flu?
Not always. But there are some things you can do.
Wash your hands often. Use soap and make the water as hot as you can stand. Wash long enough to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Those are the places that the flu virus, and other germs, can most easily enter your body.
Talk to your parents about getting a flu shot.
What happens if you get the flu?
You may feel just a little sick or very sick. Some or all of these things will happen:
Feeling really tired
Runny or stuffy nose
Are there ways to feel better if you get the flu?
Yes. Get lots of rest. Drink fluids-juice, water. Ask your parents about taking a medicine for pain. But don't take aspirin when you have the flu. It can cause another problem that's even more serious than the flu.