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Flu Season Is Upon Us

Posted on November 14, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

What is Influenza (also called Flu?)


The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by Influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the Flu is by getting a Flu vaccine each year. Flu Season usually begins October thru March each year. 


What are the Signs ans Symptoms of Flu?


People who have the Flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

--Fever* or feeling feverish/chills

--Cough

--Sore throat

--Runny or stuffy nose

--Muscle or body aches

--Headaches

--Fatigue (very tired)

--Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.


*It's important to note that not everyone with Flu will have a fever.  


How Does Flu Spread?


Most experts believe that Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with Flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get Flu by touching a surface or object that has Flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.


What is the Period of Flu Contagiousness?


You may be able to pass on the Flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.


How Serious is the Flu?


Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:


--what Flu viruses are spreading,

--how much Flu vaccine is available

--when vaccine is available

--how many people get vaccinated, and

--how well the Flu vaccine is matched to Flu viruses that are causing illness.


Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the Flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease).


What are the Complications of Flu?

Complications of Flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.


How toPrevent Seasonal Flu?


The single best way to prevent the Flu is to get a Flu vaccine each season.


When to Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Flu?


Yearly Flu vaccination should begin soon after Flu vaccine is available, and ideally by October. However, getting vaccinated even later can be protective, as long as Flu viruses are circulating. While seasonal Influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time Influenza activity peaks in January or later. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against Influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before Influenza begins spreading in their community.


Who Should Get Vaccinated This Season?


Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a Flu vaccine every season. Vaccination to prevent Influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from Influenza.


People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications:


--Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 year old 

--Adults 65 years of age and older 

--Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks post partum

--Residents of nursing homes and other long term care facilities  

--Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of Flu complications


People Who Have Medical Conditions Including:

--Asthma

--Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury

--Chronic lung disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis

--Heart disease such as congenital heart disease (CHD), congestive heart failure (CHF) and coronary artery disease (CAD)

--Blood disorders (such as Sickle Cell Disease)

--Endocrine disorders Diabetes Mellitus

--Kidney disorders and those with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) on hemodialysis

--Liver disorders

--Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)

--Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with Cancer, HIV or AIDS, or those on chronic steroids

--People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy

--People who are morbidly obese


Don't Wait or Hesitate!  Get Your Flu Vaccine TODAY!


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