While the COVID-19 pandemic is changing some seasonal rituals, the return of influenza or the flu isn’t one of them. The flu is more than a bad cold. Although many people who get the flu recover with rest and fluids, during most flu seasons thousands of Americans die from this illness and millions are sick enough to miss work or school. Influenza is serious — but it can be prevented and treated.
This flu season is complicated by worries about COVID-19. The same measures that help prevent the spread of the coronavirus — frequent and thorough handwashing, wearing a mask, not touching your face, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, avoiding people who are sick, and staying away from others if you're sick — also help to protect against spread of the flu.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.