What is Seasonal influenza?
Seasonal Influenza is an infection of the lungs and airways caused by a virus. Various strains of influenza virus circulate throughout the world each year. In North America, influenza usually affects people between November and April.
The seasonal influenza virus often changes slightly. Most people who have had influenza will have some protection against the changed virus. The influenza virus passes from person to person by droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Airborne droplets can enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. The virus, contained in droplets, can travel 1 to 2 metres in the air. It can live on hard surfaces for 1-2 days; on cloth, tissue and paper for 8-12 hours; and on hands for 5 minutes. People develop symptoms of influenza from 1 to 3 days after becoming infected. They are contagious from the day BEFORE they have the first symptoms until 5 days after the symptoms start.