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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. Getting yourself and your family vaccinated against the flu earlier in flu season will provide you with the greatest oppurutnity for protection all season long. 

What is the flu? Click here to learn more about the signs and treatment.
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. Young children, people who are 65 years old and older, and people with other medical problems are at higher risk to develop severe illness if they get the flu.

Who should get vaccinated? Why? And, is it really at no cost?
Everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine. Some people have a higher risk for serious illness, including young children, pregnant women, people who are 65 years old or orlder 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. Getting the flu vaccines provides individual as well as community protection against the flu and is a public health step we can all take!
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.​​​​​​
Weekly Flu Reports can be found below:
Summary of Boston's 2018-2019 Influenza Season in Review

During the 2018-2019 influenza season (defined as 10/1/2018- 5/5/2019), 3,852 cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza were reported in Boston residents. Influenza activity was characterized by a bimodal peak (based on two metrics of activity: influenza-like-illness and confirmed case counts).  Of these, 558 (15%) were hospitalized, and 9 (0.23%) died. Influenza 1 (H1N1) was the predominant strain through most of the season.  The second peak showed an increase H3N2 along with influenza B.  Compared to the overall Boston population, influenza disproportionately impacted Black residents (35.6% vs 24.4%) and to a lesser extent Latinx resident (23.0% vs 17.5%).  Detailed information on the 2018-2019 Boston influenza season can be found by clicking here: Boston's 2018-2019 Influenza Season in Review.

2019-20 Influenza Season Update from the CDC

Brief Summary: 2019-2020 Summary of Recommendations from CDC

Full Report: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2019–20 Influenza Season

Healthcare providers​: You are required to report new diagnosis of influenza to BPHC directly.  Click here for Flu Reporting Requirements and infection control guidelines for healthcare providers as well as research and clinical laboratories​.​​

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