Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Medically Reviewed by Madeline Hubbard, RN, BSN

Photo Courtesy: [Brothers91/E+/Getty Images]

“The flu” is a term commonly used to describe seasonal influenza, an illness caused by one of numerous influenza viruses. This highly contagious infection affects your respiratory system, causing symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 3–11% of the population within the United States becomes infected with the flu each year. Among infected individuals, hundreds of thousands may require hospitalization and more than 36,000 individuals typically die each year from the flu. Infections are most common in the fall and winter, so this period of each year is referred to as “flu season.” If you’re concerned about the flu, learn more about the symptoms to look out for, along with some important tips for stopping the spread of this serious illness.