Influenza (seasonal flu)

What You Need to Know

Flu season in the Montana usually peaks in January and February. 

The flu is spread directly (coughing, speaking, sneezing) from infected people or from objects that infected people have touched. 

Signs and Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches

*Not everyone with flu will have a fever


The best way to protect yourself and the people around you from the flu is to get the flu vaccine every year in the fall.

Other important actions:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
  • Stay home if you are sick
    • Stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care. If you have symptoms of flu and are in a higher-risk group or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your healthcare provider early in your illness. Certain people are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, including young children, people 65 years and older, pregnant people, and people with certain medical conditions.   

It is important to know when to seek medical advice if you have the flu. There are warning signs and symptoms to watch out for in adults and children, such as trouble breathing, a fever that won't go away, or a fever that returns after you start to feel better. These signs may mean that you have complications related to the flu, such as pneumonia, and need to get treatment immediately. The symptoms of flu are also very similar to those of COVID-19.

When to seek care

Emergency warning signs and symptoms in adults

Emergency warning signs and symptoms in children and infants

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and worse cough
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Irritability
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with a fever and worse cough
  • High fever with a rash
  • Being unable to eat
  • No tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal