Have you forgotten about the flu? It’s true — we saw far fewer flu cases than usual last year, which was unquestionably beneficial, especially during the pandemic.What, however, does the drop in flu cases last year portend for this year?According to Samuel J. Stelmach, MD, of Iredell Internal Medicine, the low number of flu cases last year was largely due to social isolation and mask use.”As a result of this, it is possible that population immunity will be reduced.
” “As we become less exposed to the virus, our immune system gradually forgets how to fight it,” he explained.Because of the decreased population immunity, we may see an increase in flu cases this season, making it critical to get your flu shot.Understanding the InfluenzaThe flu, also known as influenza, is caused by a virus that infects the respiratory system.
Flu symptoms include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, sore throat, and headaches, according to Stelmach.Stelmach advises staying at home and staying hydrated if you have the flu. You can also take symptom-relieving medications such as acetaminophen.The majority of people recover on their own within a few days. However, if your symptoms do not improve after a few days, seek medical attention. Dehydration is a common side effect of flu symptoms, so you may require IV fluids to feel better.
While the flu may not be the illness you’re most concerned about right now, which is understandable, that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious complications.After all, it is possible to be infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Though they are both respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses.”Before moving to Iredell, I saw several patients at the hospital where I was working who had the flu and COVID-19 at the same time,” Stelmach explained.
Aside from the possibility of a second infection, the flu can aggravate other chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.The flu can also cause more serious complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, and sepsis. This illness can send people to the hospital and, in some cases, be fatal.Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid serious flu complications: get your flu shot.
Facts, Myths, and Misconceptions About Flu ShotsThough the effectiveness of flu vaccines varies depending on the virus strand, flu shots prevent millions of influenza-related illnesses. Each flu season, they reduce the overall number of medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths.”It’s been proven that the flu vaccine is an effective way of controlling the infection and lowering your chances of becoming very sick,” Stelmach said.”Scientists have been studying flu vaccines for decades now, so there’s no reason for us to argue with the data,” he added.
Although pregnant women, young children, adults over the age of 65, and people with chronic medical conditions are the most vulnerable to the flu, you should still get vaccinated even if you are not at high risk for flu complications. Even healthy adults can become infected with the flu.Individuals six months of age and older can receive their flu vaccine, according to the United States Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.The flu vaccine, it is widely assumed, will give you the flu. However, according to Stelmach, when you get a flu shot, you are given an inactive, or dead, version of the virus that cannot make you sick.”Because the body has not yet developed immune protection from the vaccine, it is possible to be exposed to influenza shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination.”
“However, the flu shot is not causing the infection,” he explained.A flu shot will not give you the flu, but it may cause some side effects, such as:Soreness in the area where you received the shotFever of low intensityMuscle achesHeadacheAny side effects will most likely be minor and will go away on their own after a few days.Getting your flu shot is especially important this year because of COVID. When hospitals are overburdened with COVID patients, it can keep you out of the hospital.You can get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Stelmach.”Reduce your risk of influenza infection if you can.” “Get your flu shot,” Stelmach advised.
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