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Background Information: Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family the influenza viruses, that also affects birds and mammals. The common symptoms of the disease are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort. Fever and coughs are the most frequent symptoms. In more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, which can be fatal. Although it is often confused with the common cold and other influenza-like illnesses, influenza is a much more severe disease and is caused by a different type of virus. Influenza may produce nausea and vomiting, particularly in children.

Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. Influenza can also be transmitted by bird droppings, saliva, nasal secretions, feces and blood. Infections also occur through contact with these body fluids or with contaminated surfaces. Airborne aerosols have been thought to cause most infections, although which means of transmission is most important is not absolutely clear. Influenza viruses can be inactivated by sunlight, disinfectants and detergents. As the virus can be inactivated by soap, frequent hand washing reduces the risk of infection.

Symptoms:
1. Chills
2. Fever
3. Sore throat
4. Muscle Pains
5. Migraine
6. Cough
7. Fatigue
8. Feeling like crap

Those at risk:
1. Particularly young and elderly are the most vulnerable because the immune system is just developing or is getting old and weak.

How it is transmitted:

1. Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. Influenza can also be transmitted by bird droppings, saliva, nasal secretions, feces and blood.