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New Article by Madhu Reddy, MD

Influenza: A Tutorial
How to stay healthy this flu season
 
iStock 000016466354 SmallInfluenza, also commonly known as "flu," is a widespread viral infection that has afflicted mankind for thousands of years. In fact, Hippocrates described the symptoms of flu among his people more than 2,400 years ago. Different strains of flu affect people around the globe, and "pandemics" such as the Swine Flu (H1N1) can occur when there's a significant change (called an antigenic drift) in the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), between 5-20% of the US population suffers from seasonal influenza each year, resulting in about 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths and impacting our economy to the tune of about $10 billion in lost productivity and treatment costs. Three segments of our population are at greater risk of contracting influenza, including children less than 2 years old, adults over the age of 65, and anyone with a chronic medical condition (such as diabetes or heart disease) or compromised immune system.