The “flu” is an infection in the lungs and breathing passages caused by the influenza virus. It can cause mild to severe illness. There are different strains, or types, of the flu virus from year to year, i.e. “type A” and “type B.”
Influenza is very contagious. Generally, people spread the virus to others through respiratory droplets. You can help prevent spread and lower the chances of getting infected by practicing good health habits: Wash your hands with soap and water. Stay away from people you know are sick. Get the flu vaccine every Fall. Some years the flu vaccine is more effective than others. But even in years when it is less effective, it still helps prevent some cases of the flu. It can also help keep you from getting severely ill if you do get the flu.
Unlike the common cold, the flu comes on suddenly and the symptoms can be more severe
Most people with the flu get better on their own within 1 to 2 weeks.
Home treatment is usually all that is needed:
Although the flu can make you feel very sick, it usually doesn’t cause serious health problems. However, some people may need to go to the hospital because of the flu. This is because the flu can cause a serious lung infection called pneumonia. People who are at higher risk of getting very sick from the flu include: