The flu season is upon us and it is heavily promoted during the season. It usually begins as early as September and goes through December. However, the earlier you get the vaccine, the better. The vaccine is offered by the following health related organizations and offices:
- State Department of Health
- Doctors Offices
- Community Health Centers
- Schools/Colleges/University Health Centers
What is Influenza?
Influenza is commonly referred to as the flu. It is contagious and can be quite fatal. However, in most cases people who have had the flu were able to avoid the most severe complications.
It is spread from person to person – you may have seen it before – a person sneezes or coughs and you see a burst of spray flying out of their mouths or nose and it grosses you out. Hopefully, you are not the offender. However, the virus can be on the door knob, the handle bar of the shopping cart you push around the store, the different hand contacts that you encounter daily and without thinking you may eat something using your hands to place it in your mouth, you may rub your eyes at some point, you do this automatically without realizing that you did not even wash your hands.
Would you believe that one can infect others even before they are aware of any symptoms?
The symptoms include:
- runny nose
- small children - nausea, vomiting and diarrhea more common than in adults
- sore throats
- aches and discomfort in muscles
There are various people who are considered high risk for serious flu complications:
- People who have a severe allergy to eggs.
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
- People who are older
- People who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases and asthma
- Young children
Cancer patients who are in treatment must discuss the best possible treatment with their physician. Your immune system is already compromised and it is important that you do not sign up for anything without first clearing it with your physician.
Here are a few pointers that will be most helpful for you:
- wash your hands
- cover your mouth when you cough
- cover your nose when you sneeze
- be considerate of others - get protected for not only yourself but you will also protect your loved ones who may suffer from an illness/disease
- stay at home if you have the flu - why pass it on?
- drink lots of fluids avoid caffeine and alcohol
- allow your body to rest/relax/recuperate
- if you do not remember whether or not you did - wash your hands again
It is important to mention that the flu shot may have its share of adverse reactions. If you have recently received the vaccine and you become dizzy, have a high fever, experience difficulty breathing, become disoriented, hoarse or have a rapid heart beat – call your doctor immediately.