The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall when the vaccine is available.
Every year in the United States, on average:
- 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
- More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications
- Between 30,000-36,000 die from flu
Some people are at high risk for serious complications, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions.