Flu News

The flu, or influenza, is a viral infection that mainly affects the respiratory system. Its symptoms are often similar to those of the common cold and feature a runny or stuffy nose, cough, sore throat, aches and pains, fatigue and sometimes fever. The flu is contagious and can be passed from person to person through droplets that are transmitted when a person talks, sneezes or coughs. This period of contagiousness can last for more than a week.

Flu Severity

In most people, the flu usually causes a minor, inconvenient and rarely serious illness. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For one, flu viruses differ, and some are more severe than others. That's why the flu often varies in severity from year to year.

Also, some groups are more susceptible to complications related to the flu. This includes the elderly, children under 5, pregnant women, Native Americans and people with a variety of health conditions, including asthma, lung disease and blood disorders. Flu complications can include pneumonia, sinus infections, ear infections and the worsening of an existing health condition. In some cases, flu can lead to death.

Prevention and Treatment

The best weapon available for fighting the flu is to get vaccinated against it. This is recommended for nearly everyone over the age of 6 months, with just a few exceptions. The vaccine, which is usually administered in the fall as an injection or a nasal spray, allows the body to develop antibodies to protect itself against the flu.

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can help fight the flu virus and its symptoms. These drugs also can prevent complications, such as pneumonia, and they can often shorten the flu duration by one or two days.

When someone has the flu, it's also important to watch for potential severe complications. These include trouble breathing, severe pain and vomiting, difficulty eating and symptoms that appear to be going away but then return with other complications. Anyone with these symptoms should go to the emergency room right away.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Date Posted
Article Title
Slimy Frog Might Be a Flu Fighter

Study found sticky coating shielded mice against H1 strain, could lead to new antiviral treatments

When Parents Get Vaccinated, Their Kids Do Too

Flu shot study showed that healthy vaccination practices may run in the family

Flu Season All But Over in U.S.

In a twist, the middle-aged were among those hardest hit, CDC says

Most U.S. Kids Who Die From Flu Are Unvaccinated

Researchers estimate about two-thirds of pediatric deaths could be prevented by flu shot

Black Americans More Likely to Skip Flu Shot

They're concerned about vaccine safety, study shows

Antiviral Flu Drugs Safe in Mid-to-Late Pregnancy: Study

No higher rates of complications seen in babies when mom took these meds after 22 weeks of pregnancy

Do You Need an Antibiotic?

Proteins in nasal mucus might reveal if respiratory infection is caused by virus or bacteria, researchers say

For a Fun and Safe Tropical Getaway, Plan Ahead

Be aware of unusual health risks in the Caribbean and Central and South America, doctor advises

Flu Vaccine a Pretty Good Match for Viruses This Year: CDC

Overall, it has been 48 percent effective, but more severe H3N2 strain a factor in reduced coverage

Eczema May Leave Some Flu Shots Less Effective, Study Finds

Vaccine should be given into the muscle, not the skin, research suggests

Flu Cases Spiking Across the United States: CDC

Hospitalizations and deaths among kids and adults on the rise

U.S. Vaccine Guidelines for Flu, HPV Updated

CDC panel revises immunization advisory for vaccines affecting adults

New Flu Vaccines for Dogs Unleashed in Lab

Researchers say the shots may help to protect people, too

U.S. Teens Lag on Recommended Vaccinations

HPV and flu immunization rates remain well below goals, pediatricians' group says

Flu Shot May Curb Respiratory Infections in People With Heart Failure

Doctors should consider high-dose vaccine for those over 65, study suggests

Flu Hospitalizations, Deaths Increasing: CDC

But health officials still characterize the season as average

Best Ways to Steer Clear of the Flu

For starters, get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and others, infectious diseases expert says

Flu Cases Starting to Spread: CDC

Illness now being reported in middle sections of the country

Why Winter Weather Brings More Flu

Cold, dry air helps the virus stay airborne long enough to cause infections, researchers say

Flu Tightens Its Hold on the Nation

It's not too late to get vaccinated, CDC says

Flu Season Starting to Peak

More severe strain of virus circulating, but it's not too late to get vaccinated, health officials say

Is It a Cold or the Flu? Here's How to Tell

Symptoms can be similar, but flu hits faster, is more likely to lead to complications

Health Tip: When a Child Is Sick

Signs you should see a doctor

Bird Flu Strain May Have Jumped From Cat to Human

New York City health department says veterinarian treating sick cats likely was infected with the virus

There's Still Time for Your Flu Shot

Infections tend to spike up during and right after holiday season, CDC says

Flu Season's Starting to Rear Its Head

It's not too late to get your flu shot, health officials say

Health Tip: Who Needs a Flu Shot?

People who are particularly vulnerable

Just 40 Percent of Americans Vaccinated for Flu This Season

CDC urges everyone to get a shot, especially children, pregnant women and folks over 50

More Pregnant Women Getting Flu Shot, But Improvement Needed

All U.S. women should get the vaccine in pregnancy, but only about half do now, researchers say

Flu or Flu Shot During Pregnancy Won't Raise Autism Risk in Child: Study

Review of nearly 200,000 U.S. children found no good evidence of an effect, researchers say

Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Get your flu shot now, health officials urge

Your Birth Year Might Help Shield You From Bird Flu Strains

A child's first flu infection appears to affect which new viruses they'll be protected against in the future

Why You Need a Flu Shot Now

If you do develop influenza, vaccination can soften the blow, doctors say

Flu Season 2016-2017

Staying healthy this flu and cold season

Migration Helps Spread Bird Flu Worldwide

Scientists recommend keeping wild birds away from poultry farms

Many Parents Think a Flu Shot Is Unnecessary

Study reveals other reasons for not getting kids vaccinated

Certain Parents More Likely to Skip Kids' Flu Shot

Those who favor alternative therapies often bypass the annual vaccine, study says

More Health Care Workers Need Flu Shots: CDC

Vaccination protects both workers and patients, doctor says

Flagging Flu-Shot Rate Worries CDC

Decline among vulnerable older adults is of particular concern

How to Protect Yourself From the Seasonal Flu

The best way to stay healthy is to get vaccinated, expert advises

H1N1 'Swine Flu' Vaccine Unlikely to Raise Birth Defect Risk

Swedish study finds that babies born to women who got the shot had no overall higher odds

Pediatricians' Group Advises Against Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

Shot far more effective against current influenza strains, American Academy of Pediatrics says

Getting Ready for Flu Season

The American Academy of Pediatrics is not recommending the nasal flu vaccine for children this flu season.

Flu Shot Tied to Fewer Hospitalizations, Deaths in Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Risk of dying dropped almost one-quarter over 7 years in those who got the vaccine

Pregnancy Flu Shot Protects Newborn for 8 Weeks: Study

Effectiveness drops dramatically after that

2009 Swine Flu Originated in Mexico

Genetic analysis pinpoints source of the pandemic influenza that killed 17,000 people

CDC Panel Says FluMist Nasal Flu Vaccine Ineffective

Agency advisors say the product has lost potency in kids and shouldn't be used in upcoming season

Flu Shot Helps Heart Failure Patients Avoid Hospital

New evidence suggests annual jab is warranted

Expectant Mom's Flu Shot Protects 2

Infants benefit when a woman gets her influenza immunization during pregnancy, study confirms

With Flu Shot, Timing May Be Everything

Vaccination seems to provide greater immune response in the morning than in the afternoon, study suggests