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Flu (Influenza)

What is the Flu (Influenza)?

Influenza, or the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory virus that is easily spread from person to person. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild to severe, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year and practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

While most people recover from the flu within a few days to two weeks, it can be more severe in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems, older adults, young children, and pregnant women. In severe cases, the flu can lead to complications such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death.

Symptoms of the Flu

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • High fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Body aches

Most people who get the flu will get a mild illness and will recover without medical care. Others, such as young children, pregnant women, older adults, nursing home residents, and people with other health conditions, are more likely to suffer from flu-related complications.

Find flu vaccines in your area.

CDC Vaccine Finder

UR Medicine's Treatments for Flu (Influenza)

Treatments include antiviral medications, over-the-counter pain, fever medications, and rest. Vaccines can help prevent severe infections.

You can help prevent the spread of influenza by getting a flu shot, washing your hands frequently, maintaining social distance, and staying home when you’re sick. Learn more about the flu vaccine.

If you have a severe infection or are at higher risk of complications (young children, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions) or you become very sick, you should contact your primary care provider.

Usually, flu and other respiratory illnesses begin with mild or moderate symptoms. In these cases, our urgent care, virtual care, and primary care providers are ready to treat you. 

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What Sets Us Apart?

Access to Clinical Trials

Because University of Rochester Medical Center researchers are leaders in the field of influenza research, patients can take part in current vaccine trials, including study of a universal flu vaccine and vaccines using cutting-edge mRNA technology. We also conduct studies of new therapies to treat high-risk people who are infected. Find out more at

Leaders in Flu Research and Treatment

The UR Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU), backed by NIH funding, conducts clinical trials of new vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics for a variety of infectious diseases. We also partner with the UR Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology in studies to understand how flu infections affect different populations and immune responses to both vaccine and natural infection.

Advanced Care for Respiratory Viruses

Our infectious disease specialists offer innovative care to patients who are very ill with influenza and its complications.

Community Access

Our annual Flu Prevention Program provides expert, professional service, making it easy for people to get their shots, protect themselves and their loved ones, and keep our community healthy. SLIV (school-located influenza vaccination) is also offered in participating schools to prevent influenza illness in school-aged children.

Clinical Trials

Our researchers are looking for healthy volunteers to participate in flu vaccine research. To learn more about participating in a clinical trial, call us at (585) 273‐3990 or visit our Flu Vaccine Research Study page.

Participate in Flu Research

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