Winter is here, which means it’s flu season, again. Meaning it is also time for the flu vaccine, again. The reason we need a shot year after year is that different strains of influenza circulate annually, so a vaccine that protects against last year’s strains likely won’t confer immunity to this year’s. This is particularly true because the seasonal flu vaccine spurs the production of antibodies that recognize an especially mutable part of the virus.
But, what is exactly a flu?
Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory infection caused by several flu viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. People infected with the seasonal flu virus feel miserable with fever, chills, muscle aches, coughing, congestion, headache and fatigue for a week or so. Most people who get the flu get better within two weeks, but some people may develop serious complications, such as pneumonia. Pandemic influenza is when a new flu virus strain occurs that can spread easily from person-to-person and the virus is one for which most people have no immunity.
Each year, seasonal influenza sickens millions and causes thousands of hospitalizations and flu-related deaths. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Flu infection can present particularly serious problems for young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions, such as asthma and heart disease.
This is why Althian staff wants to encourage you and your people to go to your nearest healthcare provider and ask for the influenza vaccine. In addition, we want to give you some advices for you to prevent an influenza spreading.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits.
Everybody must be responsible of his or her own health. Enjoy the season by being healthy.