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Flu in Adults

Flu in Adults Overview

Influenza (flu) is an acute infection of the airway tract in the nose and throat that can sometimes spread down into the lungs. It is the most frequent cause of acute respiratory illness and can affect people of all ages. It occurs every year mainly in late fall and early winter and in a widespread fashion, affecting many people of different ages at the same time. The peak season for the flu in the northern hemisphere is from November through March.

  • Some also confuse the flu illness with the term stomach flu. The latter is an illness associated with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and can be caused by bacteria and viruses other than the influenza viruses. It is a stomach illness, whereas the flu is an illness of the respiratory system.
  • About 5%-20% of people in the United States get the flu every year, and more than 200,000 are admitted to a hospital for complications related to the flu. Each year, from 3,000 to as many as 49,000 Americans die from these complications. About 90% of these deaths occur in those older than 65 years of age.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2013
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Influenza »

Influenza virus infection, one of the most common infectious diseases, is a highly contagious airborne disease that causes an acute febrile illness and results in variable degrees of systemic symptoms, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death.

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