What is the Flu?
Influenza, or the Flu, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by the influenza, or flu, virus. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, aches, and fatigue.
The Flu versus the Common Cold
It's often hard to tell the difference between the seasonal flu and the common cold, either way you feel yucky. Common cold and flu symptoms are a lot alike, but they are more severe with the flu. The flu can also result in other serious health problems. Both cold and flu are respiratory illnesses, but caused by different viruses (Dowshen, Steven (2004). "Is it a Cold or the Flu?" www.kidshealth.org):

What are flu symptoms?
Sudden onset of illness
High fever
Extreme fatigue
Dry cough
Achy head
Achy muscles
What are cold symptoms?
Slow onset of illness
Low or no fever
Mild fatigue
Severe cough and runny or stuffy nose
No headache
No achy muscles

Get your family vaccinated in October and November, before flu season peaks, for vaccinations to be most effective. Once your family is vaccinated, make sure you take other healthy steps to keep the flu virus away. How It Spreads
A simple cough or sneeze can spread the flu from person to person. It can also spread when a person touches something with the flu virus on it, like a door handle or a toy, and then touches his or her mouth or nose.

People can be infected with the flu and not realize it for a few days. In fact, you can infect other people 1 day before flu symptoms occur and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means you can be contagious even before you realize you have the flu, in addition to while you are sick.

Vaccination Is More Important Than Ever
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as vaccine is available this fall. This season's annual flu vaccine will protect against the influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B viruses, all of which can cause the flu.

Make sure to follow flu prevention steps to help protect your family. Also continue checking our CDC flu news feed for the most up-to-date information.
Get Vaccinated
Use our resources to find out where you can get vaccinated.
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