RICHMOND -- The Centers for Disease Control reports that influenza is now widespread across Virginia.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the total number of flu deaths across North Carolina so far this season to eight.

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

Flu is contracted by inhaling respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing. You can also become infected by touching an object contaminated by the flu virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

To prevent spreading or getting the flu, you should:
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. Fast Track Flu Shots are available at Patient First with little or no wait.

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