For Most, influenza(flu) means about a week of feeling rotten. But for the older people and those with chronic illnesses, it can become deadly. Influenza is Italian for “Influence”, centuries ago Italians attributed the seasonal outbreak of illness to the influence of the heavens or the devil.
Symptoms -Usually show up suddenly and last for a week or so: high fever, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy nose, muscle aches, loss of appetite and extreme fatigue.
Is it Contagious? The flu is very contagious. It spreads through tiny droplets expelled in a cough or sneeze or even breathing and through physical contact such as shaking hands. Most people with the flu are infectious starting one day before the symptoms show up until 5 days later.
This Years Vaccine – From the CDC, “Each of the two types of vaccine contains three influenza viruses, which are chosen based on information about recently circulating strains. Each of the three vaccine strains in both vaccines – one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus – are representative of the influenza vaccine strains recommended for that year. Viruses for both vaccines are grown in eggs.”
The Bottom line – In a typical year, the flu sends more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital and kills about 36,000. Most die of respitory failure or heart failure triggered by flu complications such as pneumonia.
Should You get a Shot? From the CDC, “In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended by ACIP that certain people should get vaccinated each year.
People who should get vaccinated each year are:
- Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
- Pregnant women
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
- a. Health care workers
b. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
c. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated”
Get your family in for flu shots now, before you lose days or weeks of work due to the illness taking over you family. It will save you money in the long run.