The seasonal flu is a respiratory infection of the nose, throat, and sometimes lungs, caused by a virus. It’s commonly spread by talking, sneezing, and coughing. While most flu cases only cause mild to moderate symptoms, older people, young children, and those with other health concerns are at a higher risk of experiencing severe flu symptoms — and even needing to be hospitalized.
Our cold and flu season begins in the fall and lasts through the end of winter. The flu typically “peaks” or has the highest rate of infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths between December and February. By taking some very simple steps, you can help protect yourself from getting the flu and spreading it to those you love.
Like other viruses, what we call the flu has several variants. The most common variants you may hear about in the news are Type A variants (H1N1 and H3N2) and Type B variants (Victoria lineage and Yamagata lineage). Every winter, each of these variants are part of a seasonal epidemic of flu during the winter months. But no matter the variant that is leading the flu outbreak each year, the symptoms are the same.