What is Influenza (Flu)?
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
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:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
People at High 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.
Preventing Seasonal Flu
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.
Cold vs Flu
|Signs and Symptoms||Cold||Influenza (Flu)|
|Fever||Rare||Usual; lasts 3-4 days|
|Aches||Slight||Usual; often severe|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Mild to moderate; hacking cough||Common; can be severe|
- Ohio Department of Health Influenza Information
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Information
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Flu Press Releases2 documents
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- "Flu Hospitalizations are Spiking in Butler County" - Journal News Flu hospitalizations are spiking in Butler County and across Ohio, and health officials are offering suggestions about how to prevent the spread of influenza.