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 Bestmed - offering you quality healthcare and freedom of choice 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 Lifestyle Snail fever to decline due to climate change Mental health Laughter can be dangerous to some people Mental health Treating autism with intestinal worms Medical Eczema sufferers may react to skin lotions Medical Irregular heartbeat linked to depression Lifestyle Energy drinks and alcohol a bad combination From our sponsors Sense of community key to a meaningful and fulfilling retirement Your retirement - a healthy mindset So many people, why so alone? You can still enjoy the sweet things in life Live healthier Depression » Depression Depression and ageing Teen depression Depression: do you know the signs? One of the key roles you can play in the health of someone who is depressed or suffers from anxiety is to make sure they get the help they need. Here's what you need to know. Healthy dog » Dog weightloss Dog behaviour Overweight dogs Food not to feed your dog Feeding you dog 'human food' may be detrimental to its health.