Human influenza, or the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Strains circulate every year, making people sick. Influenza typically starts with a headache, chills and cough, followed rapidly by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, especially in children.Most people will recover from influenza within a week or ten days, but some - including those over 65 and adults and children with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cancer - are at greater risk of more severe complications, such as pneumonia.