Video: How Flu Viruses Attack
Influenza Activity in Erie County
What is Influenza (Flu)?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the 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.
What are the signs and symptoms of Flu?People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:
- 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 young children than in adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Who should get the Flu Vaccine?
Everyone 6 months or older should get a flu vaccine every year.
The flu vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months old. But, infants in this age group have a higher risk of flu complications than children of any other age. The best way to protect children younger than 6 months is to make sure members of their household and their caregivers are vaccinated.
Certain people are at "high risk" of serious complications from seasonal influenza. These include people 65 years and older, children younger than five years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
The best time to get vaccinated is as soon as the vaccine is available. You can still get a flu shot through the fall, winter or spring, since flu season usually peaks in February but continues through May.