Influenza ("flu") is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May.

Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Anyone can get flu. Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days.

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Flu symptoms vary by age, but can include:

  • fever/chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose
cold-vs-flu-symptoms

Flu podcast

Flu Resources


Questions to ask your doctor about the flu

  • Will I have a fever? How high? How long will it last? Can a high fever be dangerous?
  • Will I have a cough? Sore throat? Runny nose? Headache? Other symptoms? How long will these symptoms last? Will I be tired or achy?
  • Can I make other people sick? How can I prevent that? What should I do if I have a young child at home? How about somebody who is older?
  • What should I eat or drink? How much?
  • What medicines can I buy to help with my symptoms?
  • How can I keep from getting a cold or the flu?