City Cast

How Houstonians Can Protect Themselves From The Flu

Brooke Lewis
Posted on September 25   |   Updated on October 27
A sick woman wraps herself in a blanket and blows her nose.

How can you avoid getting sick this flu season? (Evrim Ertik/Getty Images)

Flu season in Houston starts in October and stretches until late May. So how can you protect yourself from the flu as the weather (finally) cools?

Flu vs. COVID

Since COVID-19 cases are still popping across Houston, you might wonder if you have COVID or the flu. Here are some ways to tell the difference.

  • COVID-19 spreads more easily than the flu.
  • It can also cause more severe illness than the flu.
  • It may take longer for you to show symptoms of COVID-19 compared to the flu.
  • Since the symptoms of COVID-19 and flu can be similar, it’s best to get a COVID-19 test to rule out what you have.
  • You can order four free rapid COVID-19 home tests through the USPS (until supplies run out).

What Are Flu Symptoms?

If you catch the flu, it can be a mild illness, but sometimes symptoms can be severe and lead to death. Most common flu symptoms will clear up in two weeks, but sometimes they can lead to pneumonia or other severe complications. Some common flu symptoms include fever, cough, muscle and body aches, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea. Below are severe symptoms you should be aware of. If you experience these, please seek medical care immediately.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Not being able to urinate
  • Severe weakness or unsteadiness
  • Fever or cough getting worse
  • Pain or pressure in chest or abdomen
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Seizures

How To Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from the flu is getting a vaccine every year. Harris County and the City of Houston offer free flu shots to the community. You can also visit your local Walgreens or CVS pharmacy for a shot.

Do you have other tips or cold remedies? I want to know.

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