FRANKFORT, Ky. (9/24/13) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 200,000 people are hospitalized every year from influenza complications and an average of 23,000 die annually. Even though this is a major viral disease, it can also be prevented.
Influenza, most commonly known as the flu, is a serious, infectious, viral respiratory disease that has the capability of claiming lives. Influenza occurs all year round, but most cases that occur are during the months of December through April.
The flu virus can easily be spread by people who are ill through airborne droplets produced by coughing and sneezing.
“Some signs and symptoms to look out for would be a temp of 100.4 or greater or feeling feverish, cough and/or sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, head and/or body aches, chills, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting… which is more common in children,” said Amanda N. Lewis, RN-BSN. “If anyone you know with these symptoms, steer clear to avoid getting sick. In return, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms avoid going out in public. In this case sharing is not caring.”
You can also contract influenza by touching things that have been contaminated by the flu virus.
“Hand-washing is always the biggest defense against spreading any nasty stuff,” said Lewis. “You should really limit your public exposure if you have the flu.”
Complications one can get from the flu include bacterial pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.
Also according to CDC, most healthy people might be able to infect others starting one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after being sick.
The primary technique of preventing the flu virus is obtaining the flu shot each year.
“The flu vaccine is a touchy subject,” said Lewis. “Some people says it’s more harmful than it is good, but any ounce of protection you can take is a good defense against getting the flu.”
During the influenza season, you want to avoid those who have already contracted the flu, get optimal amounts of sleep, eat a well-balanced meal nutritious diet daily, drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands and avoid touching places of entry for germs. It is also important to cover coughs and sneezes to prevent spreading the flu virus.
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