Jefferson University Hospitals


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Influenza (or the flu) is a highly contagious viral infection and is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season that affects the respiratory system, typically producing pneumonia.

Influenza A and B are responsible for epidemics of respiratory illness that occur almost every winter and are often associated with increased rates of hospitalization and death, especially in the elderly or those with other diseases.

Influenza C usually causes either a mild respiratory illness or no symptoms at all; it does not cause epidemics and does not have the severe public health effect that influenza A and B do.

Where to Seek Care

If you have caught the flu, your first step may be to contact your primary care physician in Jefferson's Department of Family and Community Medicine or the Division of Internal Medicine.

Because the flu affects the respiratory system, you should seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing respiratory distress. The Emergency Department at Jefferson offers world-class emergency services that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our team consists of attending and resident physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, technicians and ancillary staff, all of whom are trained in emergency medicine and can offer excellent emergency care, whether for cuts and sprains or for more serious injuries or illnesses.

Additional Care

If your breathing issues are not critical but you feel you need additional care, specialists in Jefferson's Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine deliver comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for the entire spectrum of diseases that affect the respiratory system.

Or, if you are a parent concerned about your child contracting the flu, contact one of our pediatricians for guidance on vaccinating your child.