Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu is spread through tiny droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Although less common, a person can also get the flu by touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, which can result in hospitalization or death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year.
There are 3 main types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C. Though each virus causes flu, the severity of the illness differs. Influenza A and B cause the most severe symptoms.
Types of Flu
Humans, pigs, horses, and birds
Moderate to severe
Does not cause epidemics
DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE FLU?
In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter months. It is important to see a healthcare provider if you think you have flu. Flu can often be confused with other diseases such as the cold. It is important to know the difference between flu and the cold so that proper treatment can be given.