Photo by Flickr, Diego Cupolo

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It spreads from person-to-person and can cause mild to severe illness; and in some cases, can lead to death.

  • In the United States, yearly outbreaks of seasonal flu usually happen during the fall through early spring.
  • The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
  • Flu viruses can cause illness in people of any age group. Children are most likely to get sick because their immune systems aren't strong enough to fight off the infection.
  • Some groups are more likely to have complications from the seasonal flu. These include:
    • those age 65 and older
    • children younger than 2 years old
    • people of any age who have chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease)
  • Complications from the flu can include:
    • bacterial pneumonia
    • ear or sinus infections
    • dehydration
    • worsening of chronic medical conditions