Flu is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. Flu symptoms are similar to those of the common cold but are often accompanied by fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle soreness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the person that it is affecting. It can be dangerous for those with compromised immune systems such as older adults, newborns, or people on certain medications or with chronic illnesses.
Millions of people are affected yearly by influenza, and 250,000 to 500,000 die each year due to complications connected to the virus. Cases that result in death are most often with the very young or very old, or those previously suffering from medical issues.
The virus is spread through the air from coughs and sneezes, and symptoms usually occur two days after exposure. Doctors usually recommend getting the yearly flu vaccine which can significantly reduce the risk of getting the flu in healthy individuals. Frequent hand washing and good hygiene is another way to decrease the risk of being infected.