Home > Medical > Cold and flu infection > Overview 05 February 2013 What is flu? Flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that occurs predominantly in the winter months in South Africa. It is easily confused with the common cold. 0 Pin It Ask CyberDoc » Test Do you need vitamin C? » Join Body Talk » Quiz Addicted to pills? » 10 foods to boost your immune system 6 ways to fight off the flu Flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that occurs predominantly in the winter months in South Africa. It is easily confused with the common cold, which is also a winter viral illness, although caused by another virus.Flu spreads easily from person to person through droplet distribution when an infected person coughs or sneezes or, quite commonly, through hand-to-hand contact.Influenza viruses can infect the nose, throat, sinuses, upper airways and lungs. In healthy children, young adults and middle-aged people the disease is mostly mild. Flu can, however, be life-threatening in older people, babies, toddlers and in people of any age who have certain underlying conditions.Those who are at highest risk of contracting flu should do everything they can to prevent and avoid the illness and should be treated as soon as possible if complications develop.(Reviewed by Dr Jane Yeats, Department of Virology, University of Cape Town 2006)(Updated and reviewed by Dr Jean Maritz and Dr Leana Maree, medical virologists, Tygerberg Hospital and University of Stellenbosch 2010) More in Medical What are the myths and facts about flu? More: Cold and flu infectionOverview advertisement Get a quote Selfmed - the one with the apple Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Thousands expected to die in Eastern Cape Lifestyle Male on male sex and assault common in SA Medical Every minute counts for stroke victims Medical Could more sleep lower diabetes risk? Medical Blood test might predict type 1 diabetes in children Parenting Parenting influences children's exercise and eating habits From our sponsors Don’t be taken by surprise this winter. Keep your defences up with Vital Hop, skip and jump through winter with Hill’s Pet Nutrition Age-related bone loss is higher in women Conduct your most important Medihelp business from your mobile phone Live healthier Sleep well » Snoring Insomnia Sleep deprived? Create bedroom harmony Follow these tips for a peaceful retreat. Keep your pet healthy » Strange cat facts Walking the dog Ask the expert Health benefits of owning a pet Here are some surprising benefits of owing a pet.