Influenza (“Flu”) is a contagious disease caused by the influenza virus and spreads throughout the U.S. every winter usually between the months of October and May. The flu is easily spread to anyone through coughing, sneezing and being in close contact. Common symptoms of the flu that come on suddenly and may last several weeks include: sore throat, cough, fatigue, fever/chills, muscle aches, headache, and stuffy or runny nose. It can make some people (such as young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, those with a weakened immune system, or health conditions – heart, lung, kidney) feel much sicker than others. Therefore, the flu shot is especially important for them or anyone who comes in close contact with them. The flu shot is also the best protection from contracting the flu and its complications plus it helps prevent spreading it.