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What is Influenza (also called Flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. 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 vaccination each fall.

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and;
  • about 36,000 people die from flu.

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Symptoms of Flu

Symptoms of flu include:

  • fever (usually high)
  • headache
  • extreme tiredness
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

 

Complications of Flu

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

 

Getting Through the Flu With Alternative Medicine

Herbal Treatments for the Flu

History of the Flu

History of the Flu Vaccine

How To Get Better Faster When You Have The Flu

How To Keep Your Kids Entertained While Home With The Flu

Is the Flu Limited To Specific Months of The Year?

Knowing the Signs of the Flu

Protecting Your Family From The Flu

Risks For Elderly People Who Have The Flu

The Risks of Flu Vaccines

Three Reasons Why You Should Fear The Flu

Tips For When Your Kids Have The Flu

Various Flu Immunizations

What To Do When Your Child Has The Flu

When do You Call Your Doctor for the Flu

When To Start Being Aware of the Upcoming Flu Seasons

When Your Child Gets The Flu From School

Who You Should Stay Away From When You Have The Flu

Why Medical Professionals Need A Flu Vaccine

Why Seeing The Doctor Is Important When You Have The Flu

Why the World Is Terrified of Avian Flu

Why You Shouldn't Fear the Flu

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Those First Flu Symptoms

Working With the Flu

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 either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for high risk persons. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.

People who should get vaccinated each year are:

1. People at high risk for complications from the flu, including:

  • Children aged 6–59 months of age,
  • Pregnant women,
  • People 50 years of age and older,
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, and
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.

2. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:

  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu (see above)
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
  • Health care workers.

3. Anyone who wants to decrease their risk of influenza.

 

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