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Flu

Also called: Grippe, Influenza

Summary

Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. The viruses pass through the air and enter your body through your nose or mouth. Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses.

Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold. They may include

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Is it a cold or the flu? Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches. Flu almost never causes an upset stomach. And "stomach flu" isn't really flu at all, but gastroenteritis.

Most people with the flu recover on their own without medical care. People with mild cases of the flu should stay home and avoid contact with others, except to get medical care. If you get the flu, your health care provider may prescribe medicine to help your body fight the infection and lessen symptoms.

The main way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine. Good hygiene, including hand washing, can also help.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Symptoms

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Diagnosis and Tests

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Prevention and Risk Factors

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Treatments and Therapies

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Living With

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Related Issues

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Specifics

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (Department of Health and Human Services)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Images

  • (Immunization Action Coalition)

Health Check Tools

  • (DSHI Systems)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Statistics and Research

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Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

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  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (Nemours Foundation)
  • (American Academy of Pediatrics)
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Teenagers

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Women

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Seniors

  • (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging) - PDF
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Patient Handouts

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