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Influenza (Flu)

What Is Influenza?

Influenza — also known as the flu — is a common, contagious viral infection that affects your respiratory system (nose, throat and lungs). It is caused by a type of virus called influenza.

Flu viruses can change from year to year. Viruses travel through air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. They can get into your body through your nose or mouth when you breathe or when you touch an infected surface.

Flu can range from mild to severe. This condition can be serious or even life-threatening for infants, the elderly and people with certain diseases or a weakened immune system.


Influenza symptoms can appear suddenly. Although similar to symptoms of the common cold, flu symptoms are usually worse. Symptoms of influenza may include:

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Treatment Options

You can usually recover from the flu without medical care. It’s best to stay home and rest, and limit contact with others to avoid spreading the virus.

Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine to help fight the infection and ease your symptoms. You can take over-the-counter remedies to relieve symptoms while you heal.

Severe symptoms or related conditions — especially in people with a weakened immune system — may require further therapies or hospitalization.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of influenza, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat influenza.