Flu Facts

Influenza, or more commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu is contagious. Illnesses range from mild to severe, sometimes it can even lead to death.

US Flu Statistics

Every year, 5-20 percent of the population gets the flu.

More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from the flu complications.

More than 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

High Risk People

People who are at high risk for serious flu complications include:

Children

Older People

People with existing health conditions

Flu symptoms

A high fever usually signals the onset of the illness. Other flu symptoms include:

Headache

Muscle aches

Sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Dry cough

Stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur, but they are more common in young children than adults.

How Flu spreads

People transfer the virus to another person via respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes.

The flu virus can also spread when a person touches an object/person that has respiratory droplets and then touches their own (another person’s) mouth or nose before washing their hands.

Healthy adults may infect others from day 1, before the symptoms even start developing, and up to 5 days after getting sick. Children, on the other hand, may infect others for longer than 7 days.

Symptoms begin 1-4 days after the virus enters the body. Some people may be infected with the virus but have no symptoms. They can still spread the virus to others during this period.

Flu Prevention

The best way to prevent the flu is to get flu vaccine every year. There are two types of flue vaccines:

Flu shot – an inactivated vaccine administered with a needle. It is approved for use in people 6 months and older, including people with chronic medical conditions.

Nasal-spray flu vaccine – made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu. It is approved for use in healthy people 2-49 years, excluding pregnant women.

Two weeks after vaccination, antibodies that protect against the flu virus develop. However, flu vaccines will not protect against flu-like illnesses caused by other viruses.

Source:  CDC