The flu, also known as influenza is a respiratory sickness which is caused by a virus. Flu as a viral infection is highly contagious and is commonly spread by the sneeze and also the cough of an infected person. The flu is an unpleasant infection but it isn’t deadly, except in some severe cases.
You can get the flu by touching an infected person, especially by shaking hands with the infected individual. An infected person is contagious 1-2 days before even getting any symptoms, which means the virus can be spread by that person before they even know they are infected.
The flu can also be caused by touching contaminated surfaces and putting your hand in your mouth or eye, to confirm if a person is infected tests are conducted on the throat, nose or spit.
The symptoms of the flu can be mild and can also be very severe. The most rampant symptoms of the flu include, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, high fever, feeling tired, headache, and coughing. The symptoms will be visible in nothing less than two days after exposure to the virus, some last more than a week. The coughing however lasts more than two weeks, and in infants there may be vomiting and nausea.
How to avoid getting the flu
Unless your idea of having a great time is laying on the sick bed all day with constant headache, cough, and muscle pains, then you have to develop certain habits that can help you avoid getting the flu. In this section I will take you through ways you can avoid the flu and enjoy your holiday influenza free.
- Get vaccinated: The best and safest way to avoid getting the flu is to always get vaccinated yearly. Vaccines are very important, they position your body to counter attack influenza viruses even before you are exposed. The vaccine contains three influenza viruses, One B virus, Influenza (H3N2) virus, and Influenza (H1N2) virus. The flu virus always adapts and change every time, so does the virus contained in the vaccine. The vaccine begins protection two weeks after you have gotten vaccinated.
- Always wash your hands: Whenever you are exposed to the flu, either by touching infected surfaces or shaking hands with an infected person, if you wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face or mouth or eye with it, it will lower the chances of you contacting the flu. Washing of hands is extremely effective, as a study found that regular washing of hands can reduce the transmission of the virus by over 20%. Make hand cleansing an obsession, always wash with soap and water, use hand sanitizers, wash before you eat, especially after you have been in a crowded place or near someone who was coughing or sneezing.
- Keep your environment clean: The best way to avoid germs and diseases, mostly infectious diseases is to keep your surroundings clean at all times. Clean and sanitize your office space, sanitize door knobs and light switches, always keep your floor neat and sanitized at all time, cleanliness as they say is next to godliness, in this case it’s also next to not getting the flu, so to avoid contacting the flu, always keep your surroundings, sparkling clean and sanitized at all times.
- Watch out for symptoms: The symptoms for the flu is somehow similar to that of common cold, so be careful to go for a test whenever you feel those symptoms such as, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and even muscle pain. A test will ascertain if it’s the flu or just common cold, if it’s the flu then treatment can begin so you can avoid spreading it to unsuspecting victims.
- Teach your kids to wash their hands always: According to a report if a child has the flu, there is a 40-50% chance that the family will also be infected with the flu. Kids are always playful, always with friends with their hands rubbing against different surfaces, and the problem with this is they don’t wash their hands enough. If you teach your kids to always wash their hands after playing or sneezing or coughing, you will drastically reduce the transmission of the flu in your household.
Pros and Cons of taking the flu shot
The flu shot can help prevent you from contracting the flu virus, but there have been debates surrounding the flu shot, with some people suggesting the shot gives you the virus and also affects allergies you have, so people ask should I take the flu shot or not?
This section will take you through the advantages and disadvantages of taking the flu shot and help guide you to make a decision.
- It reduces the risk of getting the flu: Taking the flu shot drastically reduces the chance of you getting the flu, according to CDC taking the flu shot reduces your chance of getting the virus by 50-60%, the shot also reduces the risk of children being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit by 74% and reduces the risk of older adults getting the virus by over 54%.
- It doesn’t give you the flu: Rumors that the flu shot caused you to have the flu has been debunked. The flu vaccine contains dead or inactivated flu viruses. The flu virus stays in the body for almost a week before you feel sick, so if you fall sick immediately after a flu shot, it is because the virus was already in your body before you got the flu shot.
- Yearlong protection: The flu virus can protect you for almost a year against the strain of the flu virus contained in the vaccine in the flu shot you received, after a year the virus adapts and changes, so does the vaccine, that’s why it’s important you get vaccinated yearly.
- It takes too long to go into effect: When you take a flu shot, it takes two weeks from that time to go into effect in your system, so at that period you are still very susceptible to getting the flu virus.
- Side effects are unpleasant: The flu shot can cause redness, soreness and swelling of the point where it was administered. It can also cause mild fever, headache and also muscle aches.