Here’s an overview of what the flu is and how to keep from getting it.
Fort Worth, TX (WiredPRNews.com)—According to the Centers for Disease Control’s website, the ‘flu’ is the short name for a respiratory ailment caused by influenza viruses that sickens up to 20% of the U.S. population every year. The photo on the left is a magnified view, via microscope, of the flu virus in the lungs.
Of those who contract the flu, over 35,000 people die from serious complications caused by the disease, according to the CDC website. The site also indicated that those at the greatest risk of death are the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and young children.
Sometimes people are confused as to whether they have the flu or a cold because the early symptoms are similar. Both are respiratory viruses but cold symptoms are not as severe as those associated with influenza, according to the CDC website. While congestion and runny nose are common flu symptoms, the flu, according to the website, is far more likely to afflict patients with a fever, dry coughs, body aches and a physical fatigue. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control warns that the flu, unlike colds, can result in conditions that require hospitalization, such as pneumonia.
So, how can you keep from catching the flu? One way is to get a flu vaccine. These are delivered as either via a shot in the arm or a by a nasal spray. According to the CDC website, the flu shot is OK for people over the age of six months. The injected vaccine contains a small amount of the dead influenza virus, which helps strengthen the body’s immune system against live strains of the virus.
The CDC websites states that the flu vaccine contains three strains of the virus that are commonly found across the globe. These viruses are tracked and assessed by scientists to see which strains are likely to be common in given areas of the population.