WHAT IS FLU?
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by Influenza A or B viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. It can range from mild to severe.
When ill with the flu, people often feel some (or even all) of these flu symptoms:
HOW DOES IT SPREAD?
The flu virus is spread from person to person through respiratory secretions and typically sweeps through large groups of people who spend time in close contact, such as in offices, classrooms, daycare facilities, nursing homes, college dormitories, and military barracks. Influenza usually spreads through droplets that are created when those with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk—specifically, when these droplets land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Sometimes (though, less often) a person can even catch the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it, and then afterward touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.
WHO'S AT GREATEST RISK FOR FLU COMPLICATIONS?
While anyone can get flu, infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, asthma or COPD, HIV, and people who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher are at highest risk for flu complications (e.g. pneumonia and death). Despite advances in flu prevention and treatment, the CDC estimates that deaths related to influenza range from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Specific strains of flu can be prevented by a flu vaccine. In addition, antiviral medications are available to prevent flu. These drugs may help reduce the severity and the duration of flu and are best used within the first 48 hours of the appearance of flu symptoms.
HOW TO PREVENT?
The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
WHAT IS FLU VACCINE?
The Flu vaccine contains killed (inactivated), viruses that help the body to develop immunity about two weeks after vaccination. The body produces antibodies that give protection against the viruses that are in the vaccine. The vaccine usually contains 3 types of influenza virus. That means that it will only protect you against the three types of influenza virus used to make the vaccine. It will not protect you from influenza caused by other types of influenza virus or from infections with other agents causing flu-like symptoms (such as the common cold).
WHEN IT IS GIVEN?
The Flu vaccine is generally given as a single dose each year during autumn.
For some people, particularly those with low immunity, and children (aged 6 months to 9 years) who are receiving influenza vaccination for the first time, a second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose. However, one dose is sufficient for most people and especially those who have been vaccinated against influenza in an earlier year.
WHO SHOULDN’T RECEIVE FLU VACCINATION?
Do not have Flu Vaccine if:
Signs of an allergic reaction may include itchy skin rash, shortness of breath and swelling of the face or tongue.
Tell your doctor if:
Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination; however, the vaccine is not expected to cause problems for breast-fed babies.
If you have had GBS, you may be more likely to develop GBS following influenza vaccination than someone who has never had GBS.
* TELL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU NOTICE ANYTHING ELSE THAT IS MAKING YOU FEEL UNWELL.
* DO NOT BE ALARMED BY THIS LIST OF POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS. YOU MAY NOT EXPERIENCE ANY OF THEM.
IMPORTANCE OF FLU VACCINE:
There are many reasons to get an influenza (flu) vaccine each year.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information on the topic.
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