Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu can range from mild to severe, and can even lead to hospitalization or death in certain cases. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. The flu season typically runs from October to May, with the peak usually occurring in the winter months.

Prevention of the flu includes getting a flu vaccine, washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and staying home when sick. Treatment of the flu includes getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms. In some cases, antiviral medications may be prescribed to shorten the duration of the illness and prevent complications. People at higher risk for complications from the flu, such as young children, elderly individuals, and those with certain medical conditions, should seek medical attention promptly if they experience flu-like symptoms.

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