Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu is spread through tiny droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Although less common, a person can also get the flu by touching a contaminated surface or object, then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Flu can cause mild to severe illness, which can result in hospitalization or death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year.
There are 3 main types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C. Though each virus causes flu, the severity of the illness differs. Influenza A and B cause the most severe symptoms.
|Types of Flu||Affects||Symptoms||Prevalence||Epidemics|
|A||Humans, pigs, horses, and birds||Moderate to severe||Common||International|
|C||Humans, pigs||Mild||Rare||Does not cause epidemics|
In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter months. It is important to see a healthcare provider if you think you have flu. Flu can often be confused with other diseases such as the cold. It is important to know the difference between flu and the cold so that proper treatment can be given.
Need a reminder to get your annual flu shot this season? Text MONTCOFLU to 47177! This flu season, Montgomery County Immunization Coalition (MCIC), Montgomery County Office of Public Health, and Families Fighting Flu are partnering together to increase flu vaccination rates through text message reminders. Once you text, you will be signed up to receive personalized flu-related information about where you can go to get your flu shot.