All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > A to Z > F > A to Z: Flu (Influenza)
A to Z: Flu (Influenza)

A to Z: Flu (Influenza)

The flu (influenza) is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract.

More to Know

In the United States, flu season runs from October to May, with most cases usually occurring between late December and early March. The flu is often confused with the common cold, but the flu comes on more suddenly and is more severe.

Symptoms can include fever, sore throat, headache, cough, weakness, and loss of appetite. After 5 days, fever and other symptoms usually disappear, but a cough and weakness may continue for up to another week. Drinking lots of fluids, getting plenty of rest, and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches are some simple ways to cope with the flu.

It's important to treat the flu seriously, though, because it can lead to pneumonia, dehydration, and other life-threatening complications, particularly in infants, senior citizens, and people with long-term health problems.

Keep in Mind

You can protect yourself from the flu by getting vaccinated every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the flu vaccine for most people over the age of 6 months.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Articles
T    5 Ways to Fight the Flu
P    First Aid: The Flu
K    Flu
P    Flu Center
K    Flu Center
T    Flu Center
T    Flu Facts
P    How Many Doses of Flu Vaccine Does My Child Need?
P    Is It a Cold or the Flu?
K    The Flu: Stop the Spread
T    The Flu: When to Get Help
P    Tips for Treating the Flu
P    Too Late for the Flu Vaccine?
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved