Influenza

Also known as: flu, seasonal flu.

What is influenza?

Influenza is a common illness characterized by symptoms like cough, fever and aches and pains. It frequently occurs during the winter months. Flu is the common term for influenza.

What causes influenza? 
Flu is always caused by the influenza virus. However, there are many different strains of influenza, including H1N1. These different strains can make preventing and treating flu challenging.

What are the symptoms of influenza? 
Typical flu symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, headache and body aches and fatigue. In some cases, flu can lead to severe complications like pneumonia, dehydration, infections or the worsening of asthma or diabetes. It can even be life-threatening in some cases.

What are influenza care options? 
The best defense against the flu is to get a flu vaccination each late summer or fall to protect yourself against that season’s strains of flu. There are antiviral drugs that can lessen the duration and severity of flu, but they are typically most effective when taken very early on in the development of the flu. In other cases, supportive care in the form of over-the-counter medication, fluids and rest is the best approach.

Reviewed by: Jose R. Rosa-Olivares, M.D.

This page was last updated on: 3/20/2018 4:02:31 PM

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