Every year Thousands of people in the U.S. die due to Flu!
What is flu?
Flu which is the infection caused by the Influenza virus A, B or C.
How do you catch flu?
Flu spreads from one person to the other easily. It passes through the body secretions of the infected person. When the infected person sneezes, the droplets which contain the virus, enter the air. If you breathe that air, you can catch flu. If the infected person drinks a glass of water, anyone who uses the same glass can catch flu. That’s why using handkerchiefs and washing hands often is important to prevent the spread of flu. If you touch a surface that has the virus and then rub your eyes with the unwashed hand, you can get flu.
What are the symptoms of flu?
You may experience one or more of these symptoms:
- High fever above 101 F
- A headache
- A severe sore throat
- Running nose
- A cough
- Excessive fatigue/ body ache
How is flu different from a cold?
Though both have similar symptoms, flu is sudden and severe. While cold stays for few days, you may take two weeks to recover from flu if you are a healthy adult. However, flu can cause severe complications in the high-risk population.
What happens to your immune system when you catch flu?
When the virus enters you, your immune system attacks that virus by producing antibodies which attack that virus. However, flu virus goes through genetic mutations/ changes in the gene sequence so often that antibodies no longer recognize that virus. Thus, your body cannot fight those viruses and you experience the symptoms of flu.
In healthy adults, usually, flu gets better in 3 to 4 days. Plenty of rest, warm liquids, and over the counter medicines usually help. If you feel it’s getting worse, meet your doctor.
Who is at high-risk?
- Children under 5
- Pregnant women
- Immunocompromised people such as HIV infected
- Those who are suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes
- Healthcare professionals
What are the complications of flu?
- Ear infection
- Sinus infection
- Bronchitis/ Respiratory tract infection
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a condition wherein there is difficulty to breathe, high fever, cough, yellowish green sputum, vomiting, loose stools, and chest pain.
- It worsens the existing diseases. If you have asthma, flu can increase the number of asthma attacks. If you have any other ongoing diseases such as diabetes or heart diseases, flu increases the chances of complications. It’s a good idea to ask your family members to get a flu vaccine. This, in turn, will help you avoid catching flu at home.
- Pregnancy: In pregnancy, you have to take extra care to prevent flu. Flu can last up to three times more in pregnancy. Chances of developing pneumonia and other complications also are higher in pregnancy.
If you have flu and suspect any complications, meet your doctor immediately.
Get a flu shot every year. It’s making a huge difference in flu-related hospitalizations and death in the U.S. You should get a vaccine every fall because viruses come up with new mutations.
Avoid the contact with an infected person. Try to disinfect the areas which are frequently touched by the infected person. If you catch flu, stay at home and take enough rest.
Here are 3 tips to boost your immunity.
- Have a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you do a regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Dedicate at least few minutes a day for stress busters such as yoga and meditation.
Boost your immunity and make sure you are less likely to get any diseases.