Cold and Flu

What is the flu?

A Answers (11)

  • What Is the Flu?
    The flu is a viral infection that usually spreads during winter and typically causes upper respiratory infections, says James Bush, MD, from John Randolph Medical Center. Learn how the CDC addresses the flu each season by watching this video.
  • The flu (also called influenza) is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It can cause mild-to-severe illness, and sometimes it can lead to death.
  • A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), 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.
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  • A , 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.
  • A answered
    The flu, or influenza, is a viral disease of the respiratory tract -- the nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs -- and is highly contagious. It is spread though airborne droplets of moisture produced by coughs or sneezes. When you breathe these germs in through your nose or mouth, you may come down with the flu, generally within one to four days of exposure. The flu is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization, or, in severe cases, death.
  • A 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.
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  • 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.)
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  • A , 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 diseases. 
    The absolute best way to protect your family against the flu is to vaccinate everyone 6 months of age and older.  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 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.
  • 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.

This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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