The flu is a respiratory (i.e., nose, throat, and lung) infection that can be caused by a variety of influenza viruses. Many people use the word flu when they actually have a cold. Although the common cold is also caused by viruses, the flu and common cold differ in several ways.

In Canada, flu typically strikes from mid-October to the end of April. Most people who get the flu will recover within 1 or 2 weeks, but some people develop complications such as pneumonia. Many people die each year in North America from complications of influenza. Most of these people have other medical conditions, are elderly, or are very young children.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team