Impact of the Flu
The flu isn’t always thought of as a serious or life-threatening illness. Because of the dangers and complications influenza can have in older adults, children, and people with health problems, the perception of flu severity is changing.
Annual outbreaks of seasonal flu usually occur during the fall through early spring. In a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets seasonal flu. Flu-related deaths range from 3,000 to 48,600 (average 23,600). A seasonal flu vaccine is available.
Complications of the Flu
Each flu season, different flu viruses spread and affect people differently based on their bodies’ ability to fight infection. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends, coworkers, and family members. In the United States, thousands of healthy adults and children have to visit the doctor or are hospitalized from flu complications each year.
Emergency warning signs in adults
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
- Sudden dizziness.
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
Emergency warning signs in children
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing.
- Bluish skin color.
- Not drinking enough fluids.
- Not waking up or not interacting.
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held.
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with a fever and a worse cough.
- Fever with a rash.
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There are prescription medicines that can help prevent you from getting the flu — or shorten the duration if you already have it.
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Tips to Stay Flu-Free
Good preventive health habits, an annual flu vaccine, and prescription antivirals can help keep you and your family flu-free — all year long!
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