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? » No Flu for you 10 foods to boost your immune system 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 Seven flu myths More: Cold and flu infectionOverview advertisement Get a quote Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare 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 Natural How to cure insomnia naturally Medical Global warming could push malaria to higher areas Medical More people dying from Alzheimer's than suspected Diet and nutrition Adults should eat less than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day Medical Second US baby HIV-free after early treatment Medical Vaginal ring to prevent pregnancy, HIV and herpes From our sponsors Recovery after exercise is an essential part of any workout What is Metabolic Syndrome? Could you have it? Eyecare for computer users Treet-It Anti-Lice aiding schools in the prevention of Head Lice Live healthier Down hill? » Argus Cycle Tour Celebrities who masturbate Can't get it up? Erectile dysfunction and the cyclist Does cycling cause erectile dysfunction? Some urologists seem to think so. Fitness fuel » Banned substances Sport and nutrition Exercise myths busted Are there any 'safe' sports supplements? Sportsmen and -women need to be super vigilant when they take any medication or supplement. Just one wrong step can ruin a promising career, DietDoc warns.