No one likes getting the flu, but for people at higher risk for complications it can be very serious, even life threatening. Stay healthy and help keep the people closest to you healthy too by getting a seasonal flu vaccine.
What is influenza?
Influenza is commonly referred to as "the flu." It is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
What are the symptoms of flu?
Symptoms of flu may include fever (though not everyone with flu will have a fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue (tiredness), chills, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after exposure. Although most people are ill for less than a week, some people have complications and may need to be hospitalized.
Who gets influenza?
Influenza can infect persons of all ages. The flu can be especially serious for babies, children, pregnant women, adults 65 years and older, people with certain long-term medical conditions (e.g., lung disease, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes), or those with weak immune systems. However, even healthy people can get the flu and should protect themselves by getting the flu vaccine every year.
How is it spread?
The flu virus spreads easily through exposure to discharges from the nose and throat of an infected person. It is often spread by coughing, sneezing or talking. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.
When and for how long is a person able to spread the disease?
Influenza can spread from one person to another beginning one day before symptoms appear through about a week after the onset of symptoms. This means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while