Influenza, or the Flu, is a viral infection that comes on suddenly and attacking the respiratory system. Common symptoms include, sore throat, headache, body ache, fatigue, weakness, nasal congestion, chills, sweats, fever, and a persistent cough. Influenza is different than the stomach flu which attacks your digestive systems causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Flu vs Common Cold
Although very similar to the common cold which slowly develop, the flu comes on quickly and feels much worse than a cold. There’s also very deadly complications that can develop as a result of the flu. These consist of heart problems, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma attacks, and ear infections. Pneumonia being the worst case scenario.
Those at a higher risk of developing complications include:
- those with chronic illnesses
- obese people
- children under age of 5
- those with compromised immune systems
- adults over 65
How Influenza Is Spread
The flu virus consists of small droplets that travel through the air after an infected person talk, sneezes, or coughs. Contracting the virus usually happens when you inhale these droplets or touch a contaminated surface or object then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
How contagious is the flu?
The influenza virus is one of the most contagious diseases in the world, affecting millions each year. Those infected with the flu are normally contagious from a couple of days prior to a few days after symptoms first appear. People with chronic illness or weakened immune systems can have longer period of being contagious.
Every time you get the flu, your body builds up antibodies against that particular strain of the flu. This keeps you from being infected by the same strain again. Influenza viruses are constantly changing and new strains appear every year. Your body can only create antibodies for the strains you’ve had in the past, not for any new strains you haven’t been infected with yet.
Get Your Annual Flu Vaccine
Seasonal Flu Vaccines are available as an injection or as a nasal spray. The spray isn’t recommended for pregnant women, children between 2-4 years with asthma, or those who have compromised immune systems.
Although the CDC, or Center for Disease Control, recommend an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older, it isn’t 100% effective. Every year a new vaccine is released that offers protection from a handful of strains expected to be most prevalent that year.
Most influenza vaccines contain a very small amount of egg protein. This needs to be taken into account for any individual who may have an allergy to eggs. Usually a mild allergy to eggs doesn’t require any extra precautions, but those with severe egg allergy should be administered and observed by a doctor.
A very easy way to prevent getting the flu is from frequent hand washing with antibacterial soap or using a hand sanitizer. This simple act is an effective way to prevent many infections.
Avoid Large Crowds
During peak flu season it’s always recommended to avoid large crowds as much as possible. Although some situations are unavoidable like school or work. Some of the most common places to pick up a flu virus are auditoriums, closed stadiums, planes, buses, and airports.
Lastly, Clip an Air Doctor
You can never have “too much” protection against the flu virus, so make sure to always wear your Air Doctor by Eco Shield, for that extra layer of protection.