The flu is more than just a bad cold. Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious and sometimes severe disease caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Influenza can cause anything from mild symptoms to severe illness that can result in hospitalization or death.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. The flu vaccine protects you and the people around you too. Get the vaccine at your health care provider’s office, or search for a flu vaccine provider near you.
You can also stop the spread of the flu by washing your hands often and well, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and staying home when you’re sick.
Some people are at greater risk for complications from the flu:
- People 65 and older.
- Kids under 5, and especially kids under 2.
- Pregnant women.
- People with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
- American Indian and Alaska Native people.