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. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average:
- 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu complications
- About 36,000 people die from the flu
Some people, such as seniors, young children, and people with certain health complications, are at higher risk for serious flu complications.
Complications of the flu
Complications of the flu include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes.
How flu spreads
Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person when someone with influenza coughs or sneezes. Sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouths or noses. Apparently healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick.
Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine
The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.
The flu shot: an inactivated vaccine (killed virus) is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
Symptoms of the flu
- Fever (usually high)
- Fatigue (can be extreme)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Diarrhea and vomiting (more common in children than adults)
Diagnosing the flu
It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor's exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu.
If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult your healthcare provider. Those at high risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children.
Dr. Robinson and Dr. Rekaby
Concentra Primary Care
Edgewood Primary Care
1220 Caroline St. NE, Ste. A230
Atlanta, GA 30307
Sandy Springs Primary Care
6334 Roswell Rd. NE, Ste. B
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
Concentra Primary Care offers a comprehensive approach to healthcare that begins with a family doctor and care coordinator who work together to care for patients' full health and coordinate any additional care needed from other supporting providers. By creating an ongoing relationship with patients, Concentra providers help to manage chronic and costly healthcare conditions, including care for seniors. With flexible scheduling, longer appointment times, and experienced providers, Concentra Primary Care connects the dots that form a larger picture of health. It's healthcare with a focus on getting well and living well today and in the years ahead.