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
9/21/2017
When a Cold or Flu Strikes a Family Member

How to keep everyone else healthy

9/14/2017
Could Swine Flu Be Linked to Type 1 Diabetes?

Study suggests Norwegians hit by H1N1 flu pandemic more likely to develop the autoimmune disease

9/6/2017
Put Flu Shot on the Back-to-School Checklist

By late October is best, says American Academy of Pediatrics

9/6/2017
Fighting the Flu

Flu shot recommendations for the 2017-2018 season.

9/1/2017
Nasal Flu Vaccine's Demise May Mean Fewer Immunized Kids

Overall child immunization rates fell after CDC advised against the inhaled form, study shows

8/23/2017
Have Fun at the Fair, But Don't Pet the Pigs

Vet reminds fair-goers these animals can transmit swine flu

8/18/2017
Health Tip: Flu Season is Around the Corner

Learn to recognize symptoms

8/1/2017
Recent Flu Shot Shouldn't Prevent Vaccination During Pregnancy

Study rebuts concerns about multiple vaccination timing

7/21/2017
High-Dose Flu Shot May Help Nursing Home Residents Avoid Hospital

Rates of all-cause admission were significantly lower for elderly who got the stronger vaccine, study found

6/28/2017
Bye-Bye Flu Shot, Hello Patch?

Early results look promising for dissolvable microneedle vaccine

6/16/2017
Dog Flu Outbreak

A new outbreak of dog flu is hitting several states.

6/14/2017
It's a Tough Flu Season … for Dogs

Humans can't catch it, but new canine virus can make your pet 'sick as a dog'

6/13/2017
Flu Shot Falls Short More Often for Obese People: Study

Immune cells that guard against the virus don't function properly, researchers say

5/16/2017
Is Your Child's Day Care Center Ready for Pandemic Flu?

Most are not, a U.S. survey finds, despite the lessons of the 2009 'swine flu' outbreak

4/25/2017
Some Surprising Sources of Germs

You probably use these items every day

4/18/2017
Slimy Frog Might Be a Flu Fighter

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

4/17/2017
When Parents Get Vaccinated, Their Kids Do Too

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

4/14/2017
Flu Season All But Over in U.S.

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

4/3/2017
Most U.S. Kids Who Die From Flu Are Unvaccinated

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

3/15/2017
Black Americans More Likely to Skip Flu Shot

They're concerned about vaccine safety, study shows

3/1/2017
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

2/24/2017
Do You Need an Antibiotic?

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

2/17/2017
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

2/16/2017
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

2/13/2017
Eczema May Leave Some Flu Shots Less Effective, Study Finds

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

2/10/2017
Flu Cases Spiking Across the United States: CDC

Hospitalizations and deaths among kids and adults on the rise

2/7/2017
U.S. Vaccine Guidelines for Flu, HPV Updated

CDC panel revises immunization advisory for vaccines affecting adults

2/7/2017
New Flu Vaccines for Dogs Unleashed in Lab

Researchers say the shots may help to protect people, too

2/6/2017
U.S. Teens Lag on Recommended Vaccinations

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

2/2/2017
Flu Shot May Curb Respiratory Infections in People With Heart Failure

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

1/27/2017
Flu Hospitalizations, Deaths Increasing: CDC

But health officials still characterize the season as average

1/21/2017
Best Ways to Steer Clear of the Flu

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

1/20/2017
Flu Cases Starting to Spread: CDC

Illness now being reported in middle sections of the country

1/17/2017
Why Winter Weather Brings More Flu

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

1/13/2017
Flu Tightens Its Hold on the Nation

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

1/6/2017
Flu Season Starting to Peak

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

12/30/2016
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

12/26/2016
Health Tip: When a Child Is Sick

Signs you should see a doctor

12/23/2016
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

12/23/2016
There's Still Time for Your Flu Shot

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

12/16/2016
Flu Season's Starting to Rear Its Head

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

12/14/2016
Health Tip: Who Needs a Flu Shot?

People who are particularly vulnerable

12/12/2016
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

12/8/2016
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

11/28/2016
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

11/18/2016
Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Get your flu shot now, health officials urge

11/10/2016
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

11/1/2016
Why You Need a Flu Shot Now

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

10/14/2016
Flu Season 2016-2017

Staying healthy this flu and cold season

10/13/2016
Migration Helps Spread Bird Flu Worldwide

Scientists recommend keeping wild birds away from poultry farms