What is the flu?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Quick facts: Influenza
What is it?
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus(es) (Influenza). It affects the nose, throat and lungs.
How is it spread?
Flu is spread mainly by droplets made when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk.
What are the symptoms?
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and in some cases vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms generally occur between 1 and 4 days after exposure.
When is it contagious?
In general, most adults may be contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 days after becoming sick. Young children and those with weakened immune systems may be contagious for a longer period of time.
What are the key facts about the flu currently?
Flu seasons can be unpredictable. The Centers for Disease Control reports that estimates of deaths related to the seasonal flu can range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 nationwide.
More helpful resources
A message from the CDC: Get Vaccinated
- Centers for Disease Control – Seasonal Influenza
- Centers for Disease Control – Seasonal Influenza: Flu Basics
- Eastern Idaho Public Health District – Influenza