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Influenza (flu)

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it's not the same as the stomach "flu" viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

For most people, influenza resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can be deadly. People at higher risk of developing flu complications include:

Young children under age 5, and especially those under 2 years

Adults older than age 65

Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum

People with weakened immune systems

People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes

People who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher

Though the annual influenza vaccine isn't 100 percent effective, it's still your best defense against the flu.

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