The 2017-2018 flu season is considered of epidemic proportions. What is the flu? Are you doing every possible to prevent it? Do you know what to do if your child gets the flu?
What Is The Flu?
The term, “flu,” is short for [influenza]. Seasonal flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), this year, 80% of the virus is influenza A (H3N2).
However, these viruses mutate easily and frequently, making treatment more difficult.
Influenza is different than what is called the “stomach flu.” The latter is actually gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is also caused by viruses. These viruses inflame the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). With gastroenteritis, you can experience nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea. Note that these symptoms are NOT respiratory in nature.
The Flu Has Reached Epidemic Proportions!
Every state except Hawaii has reported an increase in cases of flu.
Analysts report that this year it started in Louisiana and Mississippi, then traveled to the West Coast and Mid-Western states.
Eventually, nearly all of the U.S. was affected.
How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Cold And A Flu?
Both illnesses are caused by contagious viral infections that induce similar symptoms. However, flu sufferers experience more severe symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, weakness and a high fever.
Don’t Touch That!
The flu is so easy to catch because the virus are in the droplets that is released with a cough or a sneeze. An estimated 2,000-5,000 droplets are released at speeds up to 100 mph. Unfortunately, the germs can also linger on surfaces for up to eight hours. If you touch an affected surface and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, you can infect yourself. Here are some tips:
Teach your family to wash their hands with warm water EVERY time they touch common areas
Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces
Remind your children not to touch their face without first washing their hands
Don’t share utensils, cups, or plates
Replace the toothbrushes of those who are sick
Teach your children that although sharing is nice, not to presently share items in school
There is some controversy over vaccination use. But the CDC and doctors still suggest that those with weakened immune systems or people over 65 get the flu. New flu vaccines are created every year because the viruses mutate quickly. Vaccines are made from inactivated (or killed) virus. The purpose of a vaccine is to allow your immune system to produce antibodies The process takes about two weeks. Accordingly, if a person later develops the flu, their symptoms will not be as severe.
Can I Get Sick From The Vaccine?
Sometimes people report a mild fever and body aches after receiving the vaccine. It is important to note that those symptoms are [NOT] due to the flu shot. The person may have been exposed to another strain of the virus or exposed to the virus shortly before receiving the injection or within the two week time before antibodies were created. Regardless, these symptoms are much less severe than if the person never received the vaccine.
Treatment is based on symptoms. Decongestants, antihistamines, cough medicine, and Ibuprofen. *
* Always make sure you check with your MD prior to giving your child medication.
Influenza is a very serious illness. Every year, people die from the flu. Sit down with your family tonight and review best how to protect their health. Should your child develop the flu and does not seem to be getting better, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.