Influenza and What Can Be Done to Prevent It

The flu, which is also known as influenza, is a viral condition that affects the respiratory system. It is estimated that anywhere from five to 10 percent of the American population catches the flu each year. Most people get over the flu without suffering any serious problems. However, it is estimated that 23,600 people die each year from flu-related complications.  Small children, pregnant women and the elderly are at the greatest risk for suffering flu-related complications.

What are Some Flu Symptoms?

Cough, fatigue, chills, sore throat, headache and body aches are some of the most common flu symptoms. Many patients also develop a fever that ranges from 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit.  It is important to note that around 33 percent of patients with influenza are asymptomatic.

Influenza

Flu Transmission

The flu virus can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and spitting. It can also be transmitted through inhaling infected air droplets.  Additionally, if a person touches something that has been contaminated with the flu virus, then he or she can develop the flu.

What are Some Things that Can be Done to Prevent the Flu?

In many cases, the flu can be prevented. One of the best things that people can do to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year. The flu vaccine is especially recommended for pregnant woman, small children and people who are over the age of 65. The flu shot is not 100 percent effective, but it can greatly reduce a person’s chances of developing the flu.

People also need to make sure that they wash their hands on a regular basis. The hands should be washed in warm water for at least 15 seconds. It is also wise to cough or sneeze into a tissue instead of one’s hands.  Furthermore, people should avoid direct contact with infected people.

It is important to note that the flu virus can very easily spread in hospitals and clinics. That is why people should avoid sitting in crowded hospitals or clinics unless they suspect that they are very ill.