Influenza (flu): An overview

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Although the flu is very common, it can be dangerous for some people including young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems or other underlying diseases. Learn more about the flu and how to protect against it.

Key points

  • Influenza (flu) is not the same as the common cold.
  • Flu is caused by the influenza virus.
  • Most people who get the flu do not get seriously ill and will have symptoms for two to seven days.
  • You can reduce your risk of getting the flu by getting a flu shot each year and washing your hands frequently.
  • If your child has the flu they should stay home and rest. If they do not start to feel better after a few days or if symptoms get worse, call your child’s primary care provider.
Last updated: September 30th 2020