See also:


The flu (also called influenza) is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It can cause mild-to-severe illness, and sometimes it can lead to death.
Virus Attacking Cell
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is by being vaccinated every year.


The influenza virus causes the flu. Each winter, the virus spreads around the world. The strains are usually different from one year to the next. While less likely, it is possible to get the flu when it is not flu season.The two main kinds of influenza virus are Type A and Type B.Someone infected with the virus may sneeze or cough. This releases droplets into the air. If you breathe in infected droplets, you can become infected. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface. The virus is transferred from your hand when you touch your mouth or nose.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of getting the flu include:
  • Living or working in crowded conditions, such as nursing homes, schools, military forces, and daycare centers
  • Being physically or mentally disabled—people with disabilities may not be able to easily communicate their symptoms or may have trouble practicing preventive measures against the flu, putting them more at risk.
Certain groups of people are at a higher risk of developing complications from the flu. Risk factors for complications include:
  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Being American Indian/Alaska Native
  • Certain health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease
  • A suppressed immune system
  • Pregnancy during the flu season
  • Age younger than 18 years old and receiving long-term aspirin therapy—may be at risk for Reyes syndrome
  • Living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • Obesity

leave comments
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals

Parent-Adolescent Communication May Result In Safer Sex
December 2015

Improving parent-adolescent sexual communication has been noted as one factor that could help to encourage adolescents to practice safer sex behavior. This study found that sexual communication with parents plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescents.

dot separator
previous editions

Celiac Disease May Increase the Risk of Bone Fractures
November 2015

Music May Improve Sleep Quality in Adults with Insomnia
October 2015

CPAP May Help Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
September 2015

dashed separator


Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »