Flu Season – The Most Miserable Time Of The Year!
Flu (influenza) season means the months of the year when a large number of people have it and it’s easy to catch. Outbreaks routinely begin suddenly and occur mainly in the late fall and winter. It is a respiratory infection caused by a number of different viruses. Vaccines are normally given in the fall, before the flu season begins and are available as a shot or nasal mist. Vaccinations are most important for: people sixty five or older, nursing home patients, children over 6 months old, people with health ailments such as asthma or with long-term diseases, such as HIV or heart disease, children or adolescents who must often take aspirin, people who are continously around older people or those with health problems. Symptoms can be modest or severe – and if they’re modest can become severe without notice.
If you become infected by the virus, you will usually feel symptoms one to four days later. Signs of influenza may include: fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, dizziness, decreased appetite, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny nose, nausea and/or vomiting, weakness, ear pain, diarrhea. They come on abruptly and are much worse than those of the common cold however; having these symptoms does not automatically mean that you have the flu. Any number of different ailments, including the common cold, can have similar signs. It is very hard to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of these signs alone.
If you develop flu-like signs and are worried about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications, you should visit your health-care provider. Based on your symtoms, your doctor can usually tell if you have influenza, especially at times when a lot of it is going around. After 5 days, fever and other signs have usually disappeared, but a cough and weakness may continue for some time. All symptoms are usually gone within 7 to 14 days.
Two kinds of flu vaccines are available in the US: The “flu shot” – an in-activated vaccine (containing dead virus) that is given with a syringe, usually in the arm OR the nasal-spray – a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause influenza (sometimes called LAIV for “live attenuated influenza vaccine” or FluMist(R)). During October 24, 2007 CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended increasing the use of the nasal influenza vaccine LAIV (FluMist) to incompass healthy children ages 2-4 years old without a history of asthma or recurrent wheezing.
Any person who’s at risk of becoming really sick needs to get a flu shot, or vaccine. It’s good for kids who are around older persons and younger kids (like little brothers and sisters) to get the vaccine also. If you get the vaccination, or shot, it will protect you from getting a bad case of the flu. Whichever one you receive, you need to get a new vaccine every year because the flu virus changes every year and the vaccine is formulated to fight the viruses that are going to be a problem that year. The flu vaccine is normally offered between September and mid-November, although it may be given at other times of the year. Because it prevents infection from only a few of the viruses floating around that can produce flu-like symptoms, it is not a guaranteed protection against getting ill. Talk with your MD or local public health department about availability in your area.
A lot of people treat their flu by merely Resting in bed, Drinking lots of fluids, Taking over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can create complications if you get a bacterial infection, which can cause pneumonia in your weakened lungs. Treatment is usually not necessary for children, but if the illness is recognized early and the patient is at risk of developing a severe case, it can and should be started. Treatment will only help however; If started early and only if the illness is really the flu. Treatment includes bed rest and lots of fluids; anti-viral drugs may also be prescribed.
Influenza normally starts suddenly and may encompass the following symptoms: Fever (usually high), Headache, Tiredness (can be extreme), Cough, Sore throat, Runny or stuffy nose, Body aches, Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults). An MDs exam may be necessary to tell whether you have developed Influenza or a complication. There are tests that can help decide if you have influenza as long as you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness. In some people, the illness can produce serious complications, including bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical problems, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. The flu can cause moderate to severe illness and at times can lead to death.
Although most healthy persons recover from the flu without complications, some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health ailments (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious complications. The virus usually spreads from individual to individual in respiratory droplets when people who are infected cough or sneeze. People occasionally may become infected by contacting something with the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. The single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu is to get a vaccination annually.
The flu shot is approved for use in people older than six months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical problems (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease). October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be usefull since most influenza activity happens in January or later in most years.
Ricardo Henri is the creator of Natural Remedies,Treatments And Cures,a website with a wealth of info about taking care of your health without dependingon drugs and unnecessary surgery. Subscribe to his monthly newsletter @ natural remedies treatments cures