TABLE OF CONTENTS
when and where do people usually get the flu?
is the flu an important disease?
how is the flu transmitted?
what are flu symptoms?
how does a doctor diagnose the flu?
how can i keep from getting the flu?
what is the treatment for the flu?
what are possible complications from the flu?
are there other flu complications that only affect children?
are there different types of flu viruses?
flu pandemics in the 20th century
what research is going on?
keeping on top of your condition
where can i get more information about the flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. The most familiar aspect of the flu is the way it can "knock you off your feet" as it sweeps through entire communities.
The flu differs in several ways from the common cold, a respiratory infection also caused by viruses. For example, people with colds rarely get fevers or headaches or suffer from the extreme exhaustion that flu viruses cause.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 35 to 50 million Americans come down with the flu during each flu season, which typically lasts from November to March. Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children frequently spread the virus to others. Although most people recover from the illness, CDC estimates that in the United States more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year.
When and Where Do People Usually Get the Flu?
Flu outbreaks usually begin suddenly and occur mainly in the late fall and winter. The disease spreads through communities creating an epidemic. During the epidemic, the number of cases peaks in about three weeks and subsides after another three or four weeks. Half of the population of a community may be affected. Because schools are...