Welcome to the Boston Public Health Commission’s Flu Information Center. The flu is a concern each year in Boston, especially from October through March, when most flu activity occurs. Fall is the best time to get yourself and your family vaccinated.
Influenza (often called “flu”) is a contagious illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, runny nose, sore throat and general weakness. The onset of these symptoms may be sudden. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Children, seniors, and people with other medical problems are at higher risk to develop severe illness if they get the flu.
Everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine. Some people have a higher risk for serious illness, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or other conditions). Even people who are not at risk for severe illness can pass the infection to their families, friends and patients, some of whom may fall into the high risk category.
For more information about how you can get vaccinated, go to our Get Vaccinated! resource page
In addition to getting your flu vaccine, there are many ways you can help prevent the spread of germs, including:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean surfaces in your home regularly with a household cleaner.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick when possible.
- If you become sick, stay home. A person with the flu should stay home for 24 hours after their fever has gone away without the use of fever reducing medicine. For most people, this will be a minimum of 4 days.
Additional facts and updates about the flu are below, and we provide other resources throughout the Flu Information Center. If you are interested in seeing additional data on influenza, visit our health data page here
Influenza Updates and Resources:
Get the Facts - General flu information.
Vaccination - This is the best way to protect yourself from the seasonal flu. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine this year.
Get Well - How to care for yourself and others.
Educational materials - resources related to influenza.
Healthcare providers - Reporting requirements and infection control guidelines for healthcare providers as well as research and clinical laboratories.