Influenza is a contagious infection of the nose, throat and lungs caused by a virus. The flu is generally spread to others when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Flu symptoms include a cough, fever, chills, sore throat, muscle or body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue.
The flu vaccine is the best way to protect against the flu. The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body approximately two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection when the viruses are circulating. The flu vaccine can protect against influenza and its potentially serious complications. Vaccination of high-risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, but also prevents you from spreading the disease to your family, friends, and co-workers.
The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine each year. The typical influenza season lasts from August to May.
More seasonal influenza information can be found here.