Influenza (Flu) Test
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as people 65 years and older, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) viruses: types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
What Public Health Tracks
Public Health tracks cases of influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The team that tracks these cases creates weekly reports during the influenza/RSV season. At the end of the year, a yearly report summarizes the data.
The 2023-2024 Flu/RSV season began on October 1, 2023, and continues through September 28, 2024.
Public Health tracks flu and RSV cases by MMWR weeks, which is a standard way across the United States of numbering weeks in a year to track disease. (Learn more about MMWR weeks). Weekly reports start on Sunday and end the following Saturday.
This Week’s Flu Report
All data are preliminary as of January 31, 2024, and may change as more reports are received.
How widespread is the flu in Arizona right now?
It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor's exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.
If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult your health-care provider. Those at high risk for complications include:
- People 65 years or older
- People with chronic medical conditions
- Pregnant women
- Young children
|Usual; high (100-102 degrees F, occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3-4 days
|General aches, pains
|Usual; often severe
|Usual; can last up to 2-3 weeks
|Usual; at the beginning of the illness
|Chest discomfort, cough
|Mild to moderate; hacking cough
|Common; can become severe
A doctor's exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.
Your doctor may recommend the use of an antiviral medication to help treat the flu. Four antiviral drugs (amantadine, rimantadine, zanamavir, and oseltamivir) are approved for treatment of the flu. These are prescription medications, and a doctor should be consulted before the drugs are used. Antiviral treatment lasts for 5 days and must be started within 2 days of illness. Therefore, if you get flu-like symptoms, seek medical care early.
Other Ways to Respond to the Flu
If you get the flu, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Also, you can take medications such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol®) to relieve the fever and muscle aches associated with the flu. Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever.
Where to Go
If you get sick and you are at high risk for complications, you can seek treatment in the following ways:
- Go to your doctor's office. Doctors' offices are usually open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sometimes getting an appointment with your doctor can take several days. If you do not need immediate medical attention, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Go to urgent care. Urgent care centers usually open early, close late, and have weekend hours. You do not need an appointment to seek medical care at an urgent care center. If your illness is not life-threatening, but you need immediate medical attention, you should go to an urgent care center.
- Go to the emergency room. Emergency departments are located at hospitals and are open every day, 24 hours a day. You do not need an appointment to seek medical care at an emergency department. If your illness or injury is life-threatening, you should go to the emergency room.
With flu and other respiratory viruses circulating at the same time, getting a flu shot will help provide you with added protection against viral illness. Getting the vaccine means you have a lower chance of getting the flu and passing it to others, including those who are at higher risk for getting hospitalized or dying. Fewer hospitalizations from flu helps reduce strain on our healthcare system. The flu vaccine is safe and effective. Take control of your health and help protect others, too.
Where to Get a Flu Shot
Many health insurance plans cover flu shots as part of a wellness plan. Check with your provider for coverage. Flu vaccine can be found at area pharmacies, community health clinics, and many providers. Below are some additional resources for low cost/free flu shots. Check their website or call for the latest information.
- Anyone 6 months and older can receive free flu shots at one of our immunization clinics on weekdays (Monday-Friday) by making an appointment. Appointments may be limited due to vaccine supply on hand. Call our CARES Team at 602-506-6767.
- Many of our community vaccination events are providing flu shots for anyone 6 months and older. Call our CARES Team at 602-506-6767 to find out when and where.