Key Facts About Influenza (Flu)

What is influenza (also called flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Signs and symptoms of flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:
Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
Sore throat
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (very tired)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How flu spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

What’s New With Flu? The Intradermal Vaccine

An intradermal flu vaccine is new this year.

“Fluzone Intradermal®” was licensed by the FDA for use in the U.S. for the 2011-2012 flu season. The intradermal flu vaccine is a shot that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle. It uses a much smaller and very fine needle so it may be helpful for people who don’t like needles.

It is for use in adults 18 through 64 years of age. It is provided in a single-use, preservative-free (without thimerosal) prefilled syringe.

For more information visit CDC’s website:

October The Beginning of Flu Season

It’s not just flu.

Even healthy adults and children can develop serious complications from the flu.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every person 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine when it becomes available.

To find a flu clinic near you Flu Vaccine Fnder lists municipal health department clinics and other sources of flu vaccine, such as pharmacies.