Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you'll usually begin to feel better within about a week.

You can catch flu – short for influenza – all year round, but it's especially common in winter, which is why it's also known as "seasonal flu”

Flu symptoms include:

· A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)

· A cough and/or sore throat

· A runny or stuffy nose

· Headaches and/or body aches

· Chills

· Fatigue

· Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea

When should I seek emergency medical attention?

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

· Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

· Purple or blue discoloration of the lips

· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

· Sudden dizziness

· Confusion

· Severe or persistent vomiting

· Seizures

· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Do I have the flu or a cold?

The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Your health care provider can give you a test within the first few days of your illness to determine whether or not you have the flu.

In general, the flu is worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, body aches, tiredness, and cough are more common and intense with the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.