What is “flu”?
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat and lungs. It is caused by the influenza virus, which typically spreads during fall and winter every year through aerosol droplets from infected people.
What are the “flu” symptoms?
- Fever OR feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Muscle/body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (less common)
How can you protect yourself?
The best way to prevent an infection from the influenza virus is to get the annual flu vaccine when it becomes available with your healthcare provider. This has multiple benefits:
- It limits your chances of infection and decreases the risk of developing severe health complications in the event that you are infected
- It helps to protect community members who are vulnerable and susceptible to severe health threats if infected by the influenza virus
- Decreases the burden on the healthcare industry – fewer influenza-associated medical visits, fewer hospitalizations and fewer deaths. Allows preservation of resources for patients with other diseases and medical conditions
Other critical prevention methods include washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Additionally, avoid touching your face unnecessarily – particularly your eyes, nose and mouth. Finally, you can play a part in protecting others by making sure to cough/sneeze into your elbow.
What is the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine, commonly known as the flu shot, protects us against the influenza virus by developing antibodies in our immune system to fight the influenza virus. The vaccine can be administered via an injection or nasal spray.
Do you need the flu vaccine if you were vaccinated last year?
Yes! Flu viruses change every year, and the vaccines are modified accordingly to give your body the best protection possible.
Get vaccinated today! This will give your body the time it needs to gain protection from the threats of the influenza virus during the upcoming peak occurrence: December to February. It is our responsibility, as global citizens to get vaccinated against the influenza virus, not only for ourselves but also to protect the more vulnerable members of our community and lessen the burden on our healthcare system.
About The Author:
I am a 5th year medical student at Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan. My career interests include general surgery and cardiology. I am passionate about improving community health as well as uplifting medical standards and practices in developing areas. As a future healthcare provider, I believe in pursuing quality education to be able to bring about positive change.