flu factsInfluenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that impacts the lungs, throat and nose. The flu can be very dangerous for children. Since their immune systems are not fully developed, children are at a higher risk for contracting the flu. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that children six months and older receive a flu vaccine. Here are all the flu facts you need to know:

When It Occurs: Flu season occurs primarily in the fall and winter months and typically peaks in January and February.

Signs and Symptoms: There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with the flu. Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and stomach upset are all signs of the flu. In young children, the flu is commonly mistaken for a stomach bug.

Spreading the Sickness: The illness is highly contagious, especially when children are in close proximity to one another. The flu virus is spread through droplets when sneezing, coughing and talking. Hand to hand contact is another way of spreading the flu.

Contagious: It is possible to spread the flu to others before you ever realize you are sick. Infected persons can spread the virus one day before experiencing symptoms to a week after becoming sick.

Severity: The flu varies widely from season to season, and the severity of the illness can be determined by a number of factors. The flu can lead to other issues such as a sinus infection, ear infection or pneumonia. Children under the age of two are the most likely to be hospitalized due to complications from the flu..