The flu is a highly contagious virus transmitted from person to person by simple human contact from hand touching to chatting. Because of the close nature of the school and work environment, the flu can spread like wildfire. The best method of treatment is getting a flu shot early in the season. The good news is that almost everyone is a candidate!
What is the flu?
The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory virus. Spread via water droplets via sneezing, coughing, and even talking, all ages are susceptible to the flu. Pregnant women, infants, and those with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable. The CDC has classified the flu season as lasting from October to February occasionally pushing into May. The earlier in the flu season the vaccination is given, the better.
What are the symptoms? Can it be cured?
Symptoms of flu may initially seem like a bad cold. These symptoms can include a sore throat, coughing, congestion, and fatigue. A high fever and body aches are generally the first signs that the illness is more than just a common cold. Because the flu is a virus and not a bacterium, only the symptoms are treatable. The influenza virus is constantly evolving, and if not prevented or treated, it can rapidly become worse and develop into pneumonia and bronchitis. In rare cases, death can even occur.
Who can get vaccinated?
Practically everyone can get vaccinate. There is a vaccination method for all ages. The only exception being children under the age of 6 months old are too young for any form of the vaccine. Therefore, it is very important for pregnant or nursing women to become vaccinated, so they can pass the antibodies onto their children. The vaccine will wither be given in the form of an injection or nasal spray. The health and age of the patient will determine the method of vaccination.
Are there alternative methods?
While there are not alterative methods of vaccination, there are steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of the virus. These methods include:
- Avoiding close contact when possible
- Staying home when sick
- Covering both the mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing
- Washing hands or using hand sanitizer
- Staying hydrated
- Getting plenty of sleep
The flu season hits during the colder months, when everyone is inside. Once infected, the individual will present symptoms within 48 hours. Vaccination is the most recommended method for preventing the flu, but there are everyday actions that can be implemented as well. Hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, and staying hydrated are steps that everyone can take. Everyone can play a part. Everyone can help.