Question

Cold and Flu

What is the flu?

A Answers (11)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Influenza is a highly common and contagious disease that can cause fever, aches and pains, cough, congestion, and lead to pneumonia, and, in rare cases, death. The vast majority of cases are an inconvenience, not deadly. Out of four hundred thousand pregnant women in the United States who contract influenza each year, four hundred die of it, and an equal number are believed to have children with some significant abnormality because of it. Keeping the immune system strong with vitamin D3 during the winter, along with obsessive hand washing and great sleep, helps avoid the flu.
  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered

    Influenza is an infection of the respiratory system -- that is, the lungs and other internal tissues that allow you to breathe. Influenza infections are caused by viruses. It can produce symptoms similar to the common cold, though they're more often severe.

    Better known as the flu, influenza comes in three basic types:

    • Seasonal influenza. When most people talk about the flu, they are referring to seasonal influenza. You are most likely to develop seasonal influenza in the fall or winter.
    • Pandemic influenza. This is a form of flu that passes easily from person to person and quickly spreads around the world.
    • Avian influenza. This type of flu is passed between certain types of birds, including ducks and other aquatic birds. Normally, avian flu cannot be spread directly to humans. However, pigs can acquire avian flu and there have been isolated cases of humans developing this type of influenza.
  • Influenza is an infection of the respiratory system. You may know it as the flu. The infection is caused by one of many influenza viruses. It may keep you home from work or school, but, in some cases, it could put you in the hospital due to any underlying health conditions you might have.

  • AHealthwise answered

    Influenza (flu) is an infection, caused by a virus, that makes you feel very sick, often with fever, headache, body aches, and coughing.

    People often use the term "flu" to describe a cold or a stomach virus. But influenza isn't a stomach problem, and it usually feels much worse than a cold.

    © Healthwise, Incorporated.

  • ATanya Remer Altmann, MD, Pediatrics, answered

    The flu is not just a cold with a runny nose.  It’s also not a stomach bug or “stomach flu” with vomiting and diarrhea.  The flu is a very serious respiratory illness with high fever, cough and severe body aches.  For an otherwise healthy person, the flu is probably the worst you will ever feel. 

    The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and even death. Flu can cause serious health problems such as pneumonia and is especially dangerous for young children, elderly and anyone with asthma or other chronic disease.  

    The absolute best way to protect your family against the flu is to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.  There are two types of flu vaccines. The flu shot is an inactivated or killed virus vaccine.  It can be given to anyone 6 months of age and older, even if you have a chronic medical condition.  Other than a sore arm, side effects are rare.

    The nasal-spray flu vaccine, called FluMist, is made with live, weakened flu viruses.  FluMist can be given to healthy people age 2 to 49.  You should not get FluMist if you are pregnant, have a history of asthma, or have a chronic medical condition such as heart or lung disease.

    The best way to stay healthy this flu season is to make sure the whole family gets flu vaccines, washes their hands, covers their coughs, eats healthy, exercises, gets plenty of sleep, stays home when sick and gets regular check-ups.  And make sure you see your physician if you have questions.

  • AAlan Seifer, MD, Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida

    The "flu," which appears more frequently in winter and early spring, refers to influenza. The flu is an extremely contagious illness that attacks the respiratory system. It is caused by the influenza A or B viruses.

    The flu virus can spread through the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts, affecting the nose, throat and lungs. The more common "cold" can make you feel overall malaise, with congestion, sore throat and a runny nose. But the flu is much more serious and can be accompanied by high fever for days, headache, myalgia, and general fatigue or weakness.

    A severe case of the flu can lead to life-threatening pneumonia.

    Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. These include older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

    All members of the family, over six months of age, should get the flu vaccine each year. It is the best way to prevent the flu.

  • Influenza ("the flu" for short) is a common respiratory infection caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include:
    • Fever and/or chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Body aches and/or headache
    • Fatigue
    • Diarrhea and vomiting
    Most people with the flu recover without medical treatment. However, some people need to be treated in the hospital, and some people die from the flu or its complications.

    Most flu cases are in early winter. The timing of flu can vary from year to year, though -- usually from fall to spring, with scattered cases in the summer.
  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It 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.

    (The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.)
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • AAnthony Komaroff, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Influenza, in general, is a highly infectious disease of the lungs that can lead to pneumonia. Each year the various strains of influenza send about 114,000 U.S. residents to the hospital and kill an average of 30,000 people.
  • ARealAge answered

    Influenza (the flu) is a viral infection that causes respiratory illness -- fever, runny nose, cough, headache, and inflammation of the nasal passages and airways. The flu can cause an incapacitating feeling of illness (malaise) for several days.

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious (able to be spread) infection of the respiratory system that is caused by viruses, including influenza type A, B, and C.

    Influenza viruses are transmitted through the air in tiny droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes, or talks. Individuals are then exposed to the virus through inhalation, or by contact with objects such as telephones, door handles, railings, or computer keyboards. An infection may occur when the virus is then transferred to the eyes, nose, or mouth.

    In general, the flu is more debilitating than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body ache, extreme fatigue (tiredness), and dry cough are seen more in the flu and are more severe. Some influenza viruses can even cause death in otherwise healthy individuals.

    Flu epidemics: When a flu epidemic occurs, specific populations are infected with a type of influenza virus that has not been encountered before. The immune system of most of the general population cannot respond to the viral infection, and widespread illness and even death can occur. Some individuals, for reasons unknown, may be immune. Epidemics may be restricted to one locale (an outbreak), more general (an "epidemic"), or even global (pandemic).

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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