Influenza, also known as the “flu,” is an infection of the respiratory system that is caused by the influenza virus. Influenza season may begin in October and peaks between late December and March, although this can vary each year. The flu is responsible for many hospitalizations and deaths every year in the United States.
Influenza is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes and talks. The influenza virus is then in the air and can land in the mouth and nose of others around them who may develop the flu. The influenza virus may also survive on surfaces and be transferred when a person touches the surface, then touches their mouth, eyes and nose. Influenza is often contagious before a person has symptoms.
Learn more about the flu vaccine, flu prevention, symptoms and more.