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    Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus. Compared with most viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza infection often causes a more severe illness. The term “stomach flu” is a misnomer that is sometimes used to describe gastrointestinal illnesses caused by organisms other than influenza viruses.

    Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the three to four influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most likely to cause illness during the upcoming season. This includes at least one influenza B virus and two influenza A viruses circulating most commonly among people at that time. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, can lead to death.

    Remember that serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people, including people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and young children.


    Symptoms of flu include:

    • Fever (unusually high)

    • Headache

    • Extreme tiredness

    • Dry cough

    • Sore throat

    • Runny or stuffy nose

    • Muscle aches

    • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea (more common in children)

    If you get sick:

    • Stay home from work or school

    • Get lots of rest, drink plenty of liquids and avoid alcohol and tobacco

    • May take over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms

    • Talk to your doctor whether anti-viral drugs would be helpful

    Getting a flu vaccine each year is the best way to protect against flu.


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