Flu is short for influenza. It is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. You may experience symptoms much like having a common cold, but flu symptoms are far more serious. They include fever, head/body aches and pains, weakness, sneezing, sore throat, cough and sniffles. People with the flu are often bedridden for up to, or more than, a week.
The real dangers of the flu are the complications that can arise from it. True influenza leaves you weak and at risk of other infections (e.g. pneumonia), heart/kidney failure, or nervous system disorders.
The fall months are the best time for flu immunization. The vaccine provides protection for up to 12 months. People need their flu fhots every year because they're updated to deal with the most recent strains of this contagious, sometimes fatal disease. Flu vaccination has been associated with reductions in physician visits, hospitalizations and death among the elderly, young children and people with chronic conditions, including those with asthma.
Consult your local health authority, or talk to your family physician, to find out where to get your flu shot. You can also use the Provincial Health Services Authority's Flu Clinic Locator.