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How do you get the flu?

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Quick Answer

The influenza virus is released into the air as droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and it can be contracted by inhaling virus particles, according to Mayo Clinic. The flu also can be transferred to the mouth, eyes or nose following hand contact with contaminated surfaces.

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Full Answer

The flu is a contagious infection that develops in many strains, which the immune system tries to fight by developing antibodies, Mayo Clinic states. Pregnant women, people over 65 and individuals with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems have a higher risk of catching the flu and developing serious complications. The virus is contracted by more than 60 million people in the United States annually, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases notes. It typically causes a high fever, chills, fatigue and aching muscles.

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