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Flu Resource Center

Influenza: How to prevent and treat a serious infection

It happens every year. The days grow shorter, the temperature drops — and the flu strikes. Influenza is so common that it's easy to dismiss this seasonal affliction as "just a virus" or "just the flu." It's true that the flu is caused by a virus and that most people recover without any therapy other than rest. But it's also true that thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, and millions are sick enough to miss work or school. Influenza is a serious infection — but it can be prevented and treated.

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Special features

Thumbnail of Vaccine Finder map

HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder
HealthMap Vaccine Finder is a free service that allows users to search for flu vaccines based on their location. Powered by Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital.

Go to HealthMap »

How a virus infects a cell

How an influenza virus infects a cell
See how a flu virus enters a healthy cell, replicates, and exits with this narrated, step-through animation.

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Herd immunity
Vaccination protects individuals from disease, but it can also benefit an entire community by protecting even those few who are not vaccinated. The phenomenon is known as herd immunity See how it works.

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Learn more about the flu virus and how to protect yourself 


Related publications

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Cold and Flu

Cold and Flu

Up to 20% of Americans get the flu every year, and Americans suffer one billion colds. Children get colds and the flu more often than adults. Some kids get as many as 12 colds a year, while adults average 2 to 4. The Harvard Medical School Guide: Cold and Flu will show you how to avoid getting colds and the flu, and, if you do get sick, what you can do to feel better. Learn more »

Viruses and Disease: Protecting yourself from the invisible enemy

Viruses and Disease: Protecting yourself from the invisible enemy

Have you ever wondered whether you are truly protected from infectious diseases ranging from the common cold to more deadly threats like rabies or bird flu? When you travel, are you protected from the many infections abroad? Are you up-to-date on the new adult vaccines? This report describes the most up to date information on infectious disease and how to protect yourself from everything from stomach flu to HIV/AIDS. Learn more »

Displaying 1-2 of 2 items