Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that occur in the annual flu season. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
Getting a flu vaccine and taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus are more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Getting vaccinated reduces your chances of getting the flu and can lessen the severity if you are infected.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. More information about the flu shot itself can be found here.
Here are helpful guidelines to follow for the timing of a flu shot:
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please use the “Vaccine Finder” box to the right for options of where to get a flu shot near you.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has produced this helpful infographic to help you distinguish which illness you may have at any given time. View infographic.
Take these steps to help avoid spreading the flu this season:
Flu fact sheets:
You can also access fact sheets from as many as 12 different languages, courtesy of the CDC.
If you’re interested in learning more about the flu and how to prevent it, KHF has compiled a list of articles from sources across the country:
Every month, our electronic newsletter, Health Happenings, features a story about a focus area, grant, partnership or program involving the Foundation.