Influenza, commonly called "the flu," is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract caused by one of three strains of influenza virus (A, B, and C). This highly contagious disease rapidly spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics, imposing considerable economic burden in the form of health care costs and lost productivity.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
High fever Headache Tiredness or weakness (can be extreme) Dry cough Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose Severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and around the eyes Diarrhea (US spelling) / diarrhoea (UK spelling) and vomiting also can occur, but are more common in children.
These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms." A lot of different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
What are general steps to take if you get sick?
Get plenty of rest Drink a lot of liquids Avoid using alcohol and tobacco Consider taking over-the-counter medications to relieve the symptoms of flu Stay home and avoid contact with other people to protect them from catching your illness Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze to protect others from your germs.
Who should get vaccinated?
In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious flu complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious complications.
What is a ‘flu shot’?
The ‘flu shot’—an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
Vaccine side effects
Different side effects can be associated with the flu shot. Some minor ones that could occur are: Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given Fever (low grade) and Aches