Influenza

What You Need To Know About The Flu

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus. The flu season begins in October and can last as late as May. The virus is very contagious and can easily spread from person to person, not just through being in close contact, but also remain on the hard surfaces such as in the workplace or the home. Each year, approximately 40,000 people die from the flu and over 200,000 people will be hospitalized. The symptoms of the flu include high fevers, body aches, congestion, cough, chills, and fatigue. The fever and body aches usually only lasts for two days and then breaks on day three. The fatigue, however, can last for one week to one month after being infected One of the most effective was to prevent flu is that people who are sick should not to go to work if they suspect they have the flu as it may infect others. In addition, hand washing and disinfecting surfaces in your house and in the workplace where someone has been sick is one the best ways to prevent getting sick yourself. Note that the influenza virus is so virulent that it can remain on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours.

There are other illness that can mimic the flu such as pneumonia or be a complication of the flu. One of the more important things to know about treatment of the flu is that you MUST be seen within 48 hours if you plan on taking the anti-viral medicine for the flu as it is only effective if started within that period. (The sooner the better). Therefore, if you come into contact with someone with the flu and you start to develop symptoms, seek evaluation accordingly. That said, the flu is self-limiting and I like the use of natural products like Oscillococcinum as an alternative to synthetic medicines and their side effects.

COMPLICATIONS–Seek immediate evaluation

You can have flu complications if you get a bacterial infection, which can cause pneumonia in your weakened lungs. Pneumonia also can be caused by the flu virus itself.

Complications usually appear after you start feeling better. After a brief period of improvement, you may suddenly get these symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Chest pain with each breath
  • Coughing that produces thick, yellow-greenish-colored mucus

Pneumonia can be a very serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. If you have any of these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately to get the appropriate treatment.

Possible side effects– of the vaccine (NAIAD)

You should be aware that the flu vaccine can cause side effects. The most common side effect in children and adults is soreness at the site of the vaccination. Other side effects, especially in children who previously have not been exposed to the flu virus, include fever, tiredness, and sore muscles. These side effects may begin 6 to 12 hours after vaccination and may last for up to 2 days.

Viruses for producing the vaccine are grown in chicken eggs and then killed with a chemical so that they can no longer cause an infection. The flu vaccine may contain some egg protein, which can cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, if you are allergic to eggs or have ever had a serious allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, CDC recommends that you consult with your health care provider before getting vaccinated.