What to Know About: Influenza (Flu)

don’t Let ConfluSion Keep You from Protecting yourself from the FLu.

More than 80,000 Americans died of the flu in the winter of 2017-2018, the highest number in over a decade.

90 percent of those deaths were in people over age 65, the flu also killed 180 young children and teenagers, more than in any other year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began using its current surveillance methods.

Video credit to Kathryn M. Edwards, MD
What is the Flu?

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.

The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

 

 

 

What are Symptoms of the Flu?

Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever*
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches and headache
  • chills
  • fatigue

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about 2 days but can range from about 1 to 4 days.

 

Who is at the Highest Risk from Flu

Anyone can get flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years.

For the most current influenza surveillance information, please see FluView at Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report.

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Spread Awareness, Not the Flu!

CDC’s seasonal flu vaccination campaign materials are available to assist the public in communicating about the importance of vaccination. This digital toolkit includes details on events/activities, sample social media and newsletter content, graphics, web assets, and media prep material. This material is downloadable, shareable, and some of the material is customizable.

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