Flu is one of the most widespread contagious diseases. It is a highly contagious acute respiratory infectious disease caused by viruses of the genus Influenza.
Seasonal flu occurs between November and April in the Northern Hemisphere and April to September in the Southern Hemisphere. In tropical countries, Influenza virus circulates throughout the year.
The three main types of influenza viruses are A, B and C.
Influenza A and B are the most common. However, Influenza A (H1N1 virus) is the most virulent. The influenza A virus often mutates which requires a new vaccine each year.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu?
Influenza is a respiratory infection of viral origin that manifests as sneezing, coughing, a stuffy nose, severe fatigue, chills and a high fever. Most symptoms disappear after a week or two.
Very contagious, the flu often causes epidemics in winter. It is transmitted mostly by direct contact (kiss, handshake) but also in the air. The symptoms of the flu appear 24 to 48 hours after the start of the infection.
Here’s How To Recognize The Symptoms Of The Flu:
- Light chills
- High fever with sweat
- Body aches in the back, legs
- Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose or taken
How Is Influenza Diagnosed?
A clinical examination and a description of the symptoms by the patient allow the doctor to make the diagnosis.
If you experience persistent respiratory discomfort, your doctor may prescribe a lung radio for possible pneumonia.
Who Is Most At Risk?
- Pregnant women, at all stages of pregnancy;
- Children under 5 years old;
- People over 65 years old;
- Subjects with chronic conditions, such as HIV / AIDS, asthma, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes;
- People at increased risk of exposure to the flu, including health workers
How to Avoid the Flu?
It may be the virus you want to avoid the most during the winter. The flu can indeed “nail you” in bed for several days and then cause intense fatigue for several weeks. If someone around you is sick, you can set up these simple tips to avoid catching your flu virus:
- Limit contact with sick people. This advice is particularly important for so-called “at risk” people: pregnant women, seniors, people suffering from a chronic illness, very young children;
- Wear a surgical mask for sick people, or for relatives who do not wish to catch the virus. The mask must be changed every 4 hours.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or with a hydro-alcoholic solution. This advice is valid for both those who are ill and those who are not.
- Wash hands after each visit to a collective place and when returning home, before and after each meal, after using the toilet, after sneezing, coughing or blowing.
- Cover your mouth and nose in case of coughing or sneezing, at best with your elbow or handkerchief, if not with your hand. Wash hands after each stroke of coughing or sneezing;
For Sick People:
- Use disposable paper tissues. Discard them as soon as they are used;
- Do not share items such as cutlery, glasses, etc.
- Ventilate the accommodation every day;
- Clean up the “microbe nests” in your home, to kill viruses: door handles, phones, keyboards, etc;
- Avoid shaking hands or kissing during an outbreak of influenza;
- Clean your nose every day with saline during an epidemic.
Strengthen Your Immune Defenses
Winter is a good time for the spread of viruses of all kinds. We are all exposed to it, but we do not all fall systematically ill. To prevent diseases such as the flu, it is important to strengthen your immune system:
Choose a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, zinc and selenium (see the richest foods in vitamin C, the richest foods in vitamin D, the foods richest in iron);
Exercise Regularly, Even In Winter
Get enough sleep: a tired organism is a more fragile organism against viruses;
Protect your intestinal flora: the micro-biota plays an important role in our immune system. If your flora is disrupted (digestive problems such as diarrhea), consider a cure of pro-biotic;
Opt for natural remedies or dietary supplements that can help boost your defenses
The Vaccine against Flu
To prevent the flu, a vaccine exists. It is offered free of charge every year to people at risk and to people over 65 years old. After vaccination, a period of 9 to 14 days is necessary for the protection to be effective.
The vaccine does not protect 100%, since it immunizes against the strains of viruses most answered in the current year (that is the reason why it must be renewed every year). However it remains an effective weapon to reduce contamination, but also the risk of complications. Indeed, the influenza virus can cause serious ENT complications, sometimes leading to death. In 2016, 14,400 deaths were reported following complications related to influenza.
Efforts by World Health Organization for Flu Vaccinations
The best way to avoid catching the flu is to be vaccinated every year. Influenza viruses are constantly evolving and twice a year WHO publishes recommendations to update vaccine composition. For the 2016-2017 influenza seasons in the Northern Hemisphere, the vaccine formulation was updated in to contain two influenza A viruses (H1N1 and H3N2) and one type B virus.
WHO recommends annual vaccination for high-risk groups, including health workers. Ideally, one should be vaccinated just before the start of the influenza season to make the coverage as effective as possible, but vaccination, no matter when it is done during the season, always avoids Influenza infections.
If you wake up one morning with chills and aches, there is a good chance that you are affected by the flu virus.
In the case of influenza, the symptoms are manifested in a violent way and generally, they do not come one by one. There is no point in waiting for spontaneous healing. Consult your doctor instead; he alone is able to properly diagnose the flu.
Only influenza antibodies can prevent the flu. Infection and vaccination are the only ways to generate antibodies. Since influenza viruses can change from year to year, vaccination must be repeated every year. You can register on sehat cloud platform to get help from the team of medical professionals who are available, always get all the help you desire.