It is easy for many people to dismiss the flu as a minor illness. After all, it clears up in a week or less on its own. Even if you go to the doctor, you typically will not get antibiotics or any kind of medication to help. In fact, these misconceptions underlie why doctors think that the flu is becoming more deadly in the U.S.
This year’s flu season has proven particularly dangerous for the elderly and very young.
The Danger of the 2016-2017 Influenza Season
Doctors largely agree that this year’s flu season is not especially abnormal. The predicted strains of flu are making their rounds and are now widespread in 40 out of the 50 states. Moreover, these same strains are contained in this year’s flu vaccine. People who received the vaccine should be well guarded against the types of flu permeating throughout society right now.
So why is this flu season so deadly then? Doctors and scientists believe that it stems from the fact that the vaccine does not seem to be helping the elderly or children under the age of five. These individuals’ immune systems are significantly weaker and appear to be having a more difficult time fighting off and building up a resistance to the flu even with the vaccine’s help.
Also, more people are avoiding getting the vaccine, which actually contributes to the spread of the flu. With fewer people protected from the strains, more people are getting sick and passing the illness on to others with whom they come into contact. Larger numbers of people are also being hospitalized with the flu this year, putting a severe strain on hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical resources throughout the U.S.
Fortunately, medical experts say that the flu season is nearing its peak. Flu season lasts throughout the end of March each year, giving doctors hope that the worst may soon be over for much of the U.S. They also say that people should get their flu shots even as March approaches.
Preventing the Spread of Flu
The spread of the flu is not entirely stopped by the vaccine. While it is one of the most effective ways in curbing the disease’s spread, it should be paired with other methods that could save people from this serious illness.
First, doctors say that people should see their physician immediately if they suspect that they have influenza. Doctors can prescribe antiviral medications like Tamiflu or Relenza that will kill the flu virus and stop its spread.
Second, individuals should wash their hands often and avoid touching their faces, especially their eyes and nose. The flu can easily infect one’s body by entering through the eyes and nose. If you need to blow your nose or remove something in your eye, you should use a tissue or a clean handkerchief.
Experts say you should also fumigate your house to air out germs. According to popular belief, the cold air causes the flu. In reality, clean winter air can help spread out the germs from your home. You should open the windows and doors on days when the weather is not frigidly cold so that you can fumigate and remove viruses.
These simple tips can go a long way in preventing the spread of the flu. The flu is a serious disease that can kill those with a weakened immunity or underlying health conditions. It also claims the lives of children and senior citizens on a yearly basis. The influenza vaccine should be the first line of defense to survive the flu season that lasts from October through March every year.
Image Source: Pexels