Influenza / Flu – Patient Education Overview
Influenza, or its more common name, “the flu”, is a viral infection that occurs mostly in the winter and late autumn by either the A or B virus.
Between 3-5 million people globally are affected by the flu each year, and between 3,000-50,000 deaths occur annually from seasonal flu in the U.S. alone. Read more in this patient education guide.
Common symptoms resulting from the flu typically occur 1-4 days after exposure and include:
- Lethargy, fatigue
- Sore/dry throat with cough
- Decreased appetite
- Body aches
The flu can resolve spontaneously in 1-2 weeks, but in immuno-compromised individuals can progress to:
- Ear infection
- Sinus infection
Receiving the flu shot, which is usually given between September and February each year, may prevent contracting influenza.
While everyone over the age of 6 months is eligible to receive the vaccine, those who are at high risk for susceptibility and should strongly consider receiving the shot include:
- People with decreased or compromised immunity
- Pregnant women
- Children 6 months to 4 years
- Adults over the age of 50
- Healthcare workers
- Adults with the following conditions:
- Lung problems, like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
- Cardiac disease
- Renal disorders
Written by Barbara Hales, MDShow All