The influenza virus, also known as the flu is a respiratory illness characterized by fever, coughing, body chills, weakness, a sore throat, and possible nasal congestion, which can result in hospitalization and in severe cases, death. The vulnerable populations that are at risk for the influenza virus include pregnant women, those over the age of sixty-five or less than the age of two, and those with a chronic medical condition, such as HIV, cancer, asthma, diabetes or neurological illnesses. Since the flu is transmitted by infected individuals through droplets from a sneeze or cough, it is important for both the average person and the vulnerable populations to take certain precautions.
Considering the brief overview discussed above, what is the most effective way to guard against this illness? The primary preventative measure recommended by the CDC, unless otherwise stated by your physician, is the flu vaccination. It is recommended to receive the flu vaccine between the months of September and November, which is considered the start of flu season. The vaccine takes two weeks for full coverage to occur, which is why it is recommended at the start of the flu season. We will discuss five advantages of receiving the flu vaccine below.
1) While the flu vaccine is highly effective at protecting you against the flu, it does not have a 100% efficacy rate. However, it does decrease your chance of acquiring the virus by 40 to 60% per the CDC.
2) It has also been shown, according to the CDC, that in the individuals who receive the flu vaccine, symptoms and duration of the flu will be less in severity if contracted.
3) In addition, when given the vaccination, the likelihood of hospitalization due to the flu is greatly decreased.
4) It is also important to note that you are not only protecting yourself from getting the flu but also protecting others from the flu, including the vulnerable populations listed above.
5) Lastly, the flu vaccine, when given to those in the vulnerable populations, will decrease the risk of other complications arising if the flu is contracted. For example, a pregnant woman who receives the vaccine protect themselves during pregnancy and protect the baby after birth because babies cannot receive the flu vaccine until six months of age. Since they cannot receive the vaccine until after six months old, they are at an incredibly high risk of complications if they contract the flu.
While the flu vaccine is encouraged and is still thought to be the number one preventive measure in regards to the flu, you can still be vigilant to implement daily preventative measures. For instance, proper hand hygiene is recommended frequently throughout the day as well as staying at home if you or a loved one is ill. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing. Through utilizing these measures, you should have a high likelihood of withstanding the flu season unaffected.
Feeling under the weather and think it could be the flu? Speak to one of our doctors online today from anywhere in Pakistan at Shifa4U.