The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Medical professionals say annual flu vaccines are the best way to prevent flu.
Flu symptoms can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death.
Flu is different from a cold.
Cold symptoms come on gradual as flu symptoms come on suddenly. Common flu symptoms can include: fever (not everyone gets a fever), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting .
It’s rare to have a fever or headache with a cold, and uncommon to have chills.
People at high-risk
Anyone can get the flu, even those who are healthy, and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age. But there are some people who are at a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications.
- people 65 years and older,
- people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes or heart disease,
- pregnant women, and
- children younger than 5 years.
The most important step in flu prevention is the annual flu vaccine, which medical professionals say reduces flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyday preventive actions to slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like the flu:
- stay away from people who are sick,
- covering coughs and sneezes, and
- frequent hand-washing.
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