Influenza, often called the 'flu', is an infection of the upper airway (the nose and throat) caused by an influenza virus. Influenza is a highly changeable virus and a person with influenza is at risk of other infections, including viral or bacterial pneumonia which is an infection of the lungs.
Influenza symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle or joint pain, runny nose, sore throat, extreme tiredness and cough. Symptoms can begin 1 to 4 days (on average two days) after a person is first exposed to the influenza virus. Fever and other symptoms can usually last 7 to 10 days with the cough and weakness lasting up to two more weeks.
The influenza vaccine, also known as the 'flu shot', may help prevent people from getting sick with influenza or from spreading it to others. In B.C. the vaccine is available October or early November.