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Flu

WHAT IS INFLUENZA?

Seasonal influenza, also called the flu, is a contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is a serious illness that leads to approximately 20,000 hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths in American children younger than 5 years of age each year. Anyone can get influenza, but infection rates are highest among children (~20-30% each year).

HOW IS INFLUENZA SPREAD?

Influenza is spread easily from person to person; when someone who has it sneezes, coughs or even talks, the virus passes into the air and can be breathed in by anyone close by. Sometimes people can become infected by touching something – such as a surface or object – with influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

Influenza can come on very suddenly and usually includes a high fever with fatigue, aches, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, a runny nose and muscle/joint pain. Children may have additional symptoms such as ear aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent the influenza. The vaccine is safe and effective, and is given to tens of millions of Americans each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a three-pronged approach: influenza vaccination, use of antiviral medications for treatment or prevention, and use of other measures to decrease the spread of influenza, including hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and staying home from work and school when ill.

All children 6 months through 18 years of age are recommended for annual influenza vaccination.

WHAT ARE INFLUENZA SYMPTOMS?

Influenza can come on very suddenly and usually includes a high fever with fatigue, aches, chills, headache, cough, sore throat, a runny nose and muscle/joint pain. Children may have additional symptoms such as ear aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

PREVENTION

Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent the influenza. The vaccine is safe and effective, and is given to tens of millions of Americans each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a three-pronged approach: influenza vaccination, use of antiviral medications for treatment or prevention, and use of other measures to decrease the spread of influenza, including hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and staying home from work and school when ill.