What Exactly is the Flu?
The flu also known as influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages that causes sever body aching, fever, chills and weakness.
There are many preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from getting the flu this season. The first and most important step would be to contact your doctor and schedule an appointment to get your flu shot. Peak season for the flu is between the months of December and February in the United States, but the season can sometimes last until May. The sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected from it when it hits your city.
It is recommended by the CDC for everyone that is 6 months or older to get a flu shot as your first line of defense against the virus. The CDC recommends that you only use the flu shot not the nasal spray flu vaccine. It is very important for people who are high risk of serious complications from influenza get the vaccine to prevent the flu. If you are prone to getting pneumonia during the winter months, this can be a serious complication from the influenza infection alone or from a co-infection from the flu virus and a bacteria together. Other serious complications triggered by the flu can include inflammation of the muscle tissue, brain, or heart and that can cause multi-organ failure.
More About the Flu Virus
The flu virus infection can trigger your body to have an extreme inflammatory response resulting in sepsis, this is the body’s life-threatening response to infection. If you have a chronic medical condition the flu can actually make it worse. So, people who have trouble with asthma may experience more frequent asthma attacks while they have the flu. People who have chronic heart disease can also experience worsening symptoms of this condition. Pregnant women are high risk, children younger than 5 but especially younger than 2 are high risk and people age 65 and older are also high risk. That is why it is so important for people who are considered high risk to get the flu vaccine.
Good healthy habits can also help to prevent the flu virus from invading your home. Covering your mouth when you cough is a great way to try and stop the spread of the virus. Try coughing into your elbow and not your hands, this will help you stop the spread of the virus. Think about it, how many things in a day do you touch with your hands? A million I’m sure, and if you are in a place where you can’t get to a sink right away to wash your hands every time you cough, you can spread the virus very quickly, but by coughing into your elbow you slow down the spread of the virus.
If you are a stay at home mom/dad or work in a place where you have access to a sink, washing your hands as often as you can will only help prevent you from getting the flu to begin with. Also, try to disinfect counter tops and surfaces that are continuously touched daily at least once a day if not more. Try to avoid close contact with people if they are sick and if you are the one sick, try to keep your distance from other people to protect them from getting sick. If your sick and it is possible to stay home from work, school or doing errands, then do so because this will help stop the spread of your illness. During the flu season, try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless you have washed your hands first. Make sure you try to get plenty of sleep, be physically active, eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of fluids and try to manage your stress. In doing so, this keeps your body ready to try and fight off the influenza virus. Please be safe this flu season and call your doctor today to schedule your appointment to get a flu shot.