HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WVEC) -- Health officials are reporting that the number of flu cases in Virginia is increasing and is now considered 'widespread' throughout the state.

Symptoms of flu include a high fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, extreme tiredness, muscle aches and shortness of breath.

According to doctors at Patient First, the flu is contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, or touching an object contaminated by the flu virus.

Patient First doctors have provided the following tips to prevent spreading or getting the flu:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing, and wiping or blowing your nose.
  • Use paper tissues when wiping or blowing your nose and throw them away after use.
  • Cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow instead of into your bare hand.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes as germs enter the body through these openings.
  • Stay home if you have flu symptoms until you are fever-free without fever medicine for 24 hours.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Stay away from crowds, if possible.
  • Get a flu shot.