OKLAHOMA CITY - What was predicted to be a very bad flu season is living up to those expectations. So far, eight Oklahomans have died from the virus.

We are being warned if we have flu to stay home. But how do we know?

According to EMSA, in addition to the flu, they are also seeing a lot of upper chest respiratory issues going around as well. In addition, it's also that time of year for the common cold.

So how do you avoid going to work thinking you just have a cold and end up giving all your co-workers the flu?

Doctors say the biggest difference is flu symptoms will usually come on suddenly with an abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches.

At EMSA where they are seeing an extremely high volume of flu calls, paramedics say only your doctor can tell you for sure if it's a bad cold or the flu.

"If you are running a fever, you are actively coughing and while you have a fever stay home," said EMSA Field Operations Supervisor Tony McCarty. "Don't bring it out into the public, don't spread it around. Keep it to yourself."