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Chances Of Catching The Flu

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How Avian Flu Spreads From Birds To People

Surgical masks reduce your risk of catching the flu, as long as other preventative measures are take

It is important not to confuse human cases of avian influenza with cases of human influenza. Human influenza is a common respiratory disease that spreads easily and rapidly from person to person. Although different strains of avian flu virus circulate year-round among birds, the virus does not usually spread to people.

The Asian strain of avian influenza H5N1 virus has been confirmed in poultry and wild birds in several countries in the following regions: Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. While this demonstrates the rapid and ongoing geographical spread of the virus, information to date has shown that the greatest risk to humans arises when the virus becomes established in small backyard poultry flocks, which allow continuing opportunities for close human contact, exposures, and infections to occur. The scientific evidence to date shows that avian flu virus does not spread easily or rapidly from one person to another.

What Are Your Chances Of Dying Of Flu

Fergus Walsh|19:25 UK time, Thursday, 13 January 2011

What are your chances of dying of flu this winter? It’s a pertinent question given the apparent doubling of the confirmed deaths since October. Figures from the Health Protection Agency reveal that, across the UK, flu-related deaths rose from 50 to 112.

So are the chances of dying one in 10,000 or 1 in 100,000? Neither is remotely close.

Here’s why: We’ve been told the ages of 101 of those who died.

Six were 0-4 years old nine were 5-14 34 were aged 15-44 36 were 45-64 and 16 were 65 and over.

Now if we look at the number of deaths per head of population, the highest is among those in middle age. One in 440,000 people aged 45-64 have died. Among the under-fives it is one in 630,000 – the same rate as those 65 and over.

I hope that reassures people who have been alarmed by swine flu stories in the media.

So does this mean we do not need to be concerned about flu? No it does not. If you have a chronic respiratory problem and are pregnant, then your risks from – especially swine flu – will be a lot higher than those listed above. That is why anyone in an at-risk group should be immunised.

Nonetheless if you are an otherwise healthy person then your chances of dying from flu are very small indeed. There have been deaths among those without previous conditions, such as the case of Lana Ameen. But these are rare.

So when will the worst be over?

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How Do I Know The Flu Vaccine Is Safe And Will Be Effective

Flu vaccines have been around for over 60 years and been safely given to millions of people around the world. Every year, national medicines regulatory authorities carefully examine each flu vaccine before it is licensed, and systems are in place to monitor and investigate reports of adverse effects following immunization. Although there are occasionally side effects, these are very rare and not normally severe. The flu vaccine is the best tool we have for preventing the disease and reducing the risk of serious complications and even death.

In order to provide an optimum level of protection, flu vaccines are updated annually based on the observations of scientists monitoring virus strains in circulation earlier that year. Exactly how effective these vaccines are depends on a number of factors, including your age, current health and the strains of the virus that actually end up in circulation over the winter period. Even so, we would typically expect you be around 60% protected from flu after 2 weeks of having been vaccinated .

Also Check: Can You Get A Flu Shot After Donating Blood

How To Prevent Complications From The Flu

People who are sick with the flu can lower their chances of developing complications by being extra vigilant of the symptoms theyre experiencing. For example, feeling short of breath isnt a normal symptom of the flu.

If you have the flu and continue to get worse instead of better, thats a good indication its time to see your doctor.

Flu symptoms should only last a week, and you should be able to alleviate them through treatment at home. Taking over-the-counter medications for fever, body aches, and congestion should be effective. However, thats not always the case.

While most viruses run their course on their own, you shouldnt try to wait out symptoms that get more and more severe. Full recovery from flu sometimes requires medical attention, as well as plenty of fluids and rest.

If flu is diagnosed early enough, your doctor can also prescribe antiviral medication that shortens the duration of your symptoms.

The Best Way To Protect Yourself Is To Get Vaccinated

Catching flu leads to six

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Experts agree on this fact, but less than 60% of Americans are sure that theyll get a flu shot this year, according to the CDC. One reason may be the belief that the shot isnt very effective, since it “only” reduces your risk of infection by 40 to 60%.

But, argues Dr. Uy, a lot of people dont realize that the vaccine may be protective against complications from the flu, even if you do get sick. Case in point: A 2021 study of adults published in the journal Vaccine found that flu vaccination was associated with a 26% lower risk of ICU admission and a 31% lower risk of death from flu compared to those who were unvaccinated.

One story I love to tell from many years ago during my fellowship when I was much younger: I came down with classic flu symptoms even though I was vaccinatedI felt fine one minute, and five minutes later I felt like I was hit by a bus, recalls Dr. Uy. I got tested on a Thursday, but by Saturday I felt good enough to go skiing. When I returned to work on Monday, I learned Id tested positive for flu. While the vaccine didnt keep me from getting infected, it likely reduced the severity of my illness.

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Sometimes I Get The Flu Despite Having Had The Flu Shot Why Should I Bother

Flu vaccination prevents illness in up to 6 in 10 healthy adults under the age of 65. Because the vaccine is not effective in absolutely every case, some people may still catch the virus after having the flu shot. But the risk of illness is still reduced.

Although most people who get the flu recover without lasting effects, the flu can be very serious in some people and may require hospitalisation. In some cases, it can even be fatal. Its not possible to predict who will be severely affected.

Vaccination against the flu both reduces your chances of getting it and the severity of the symptoms if you do. So its still important to have the shot.

Who Would You Recommend Get Vaccinated Against The Flu Virus And When Should They Do It

WHO recommends that people from the following 5 priority groups get vaccinated before the flu season starts, or as soon as possible thereafter. This is usually around October to November, after vaccines become available.

  • Health-care workers. As health-care workers are more exposed to flu through their work, their chances of passing the infection on to others, including vulnerable patients at risk of severe disease, are increased. We also rely on these workers to run our health services, so we need them to stay healthy at work, not be off sick with the flu, particularly at a time of year when health services are often under the most pressure.
  • Older people over 65 years. As the immune system weakens with age, our bodies become less effective at fighting infections, including flu. This means older people have a greater risk of developing serious illness, may need hospitalization and could even die from the disease.
  • People with underlying conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease or heart disease. Weakened immune systems can increase the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and potentially death from flu.
  • Pregnant women. Evidence shows that pregnant women are more prone to developing severe flu, which can have a negative impact on the unborn child. Vaccination protects the pregnant woman, the fetus and the baby once born.
  • Children under 5 years. Young children are more likely to develop more severe illness, and have the potential to infect others, including older relatives.

Also Check: Why Is Flu Season In The Winter

Does Who Recommend Getting Both Covid

Although evidence on getting COVID-19 and influenza vaccines at the same time is limited, what evidence there is does not show any increase in adverse effects. Therefore, WHO thinks it is acceptable for countries to give both vaccines to their citizens during the same visit, particularly as the risks of adults getting serious illness from flu or COVID-19 infection is substantial.

How Can I Avoid This Flu

Catching The Flu Can Increase Your Risk Of Heart Attack, Study Shows

Wear a mask and keep physical distancing. the importance of masks get the economy back on trackGet tested for Covid-19 if you socialized closely over Labor Day, Dr. Birx says to 107 cases this AugustGet a flu vaccineabout half of all Americans including most children who die from the fluthe symptoms are usually less severePediatrician: It’s time for all schools to require flu shotswrote this week

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The Risks Of Opting Out Of Flu Vaccine

Vaccine hesitancy also commonly known as the anti-vaccine movement has been named one of the top health threats for 20191 by the World Health Organization.2 Its not hard to understand why. Since the vaccine debate has gained traction, infectious diseases such as measles that have long been rare in the U.S. have come back with a vengeance.3

When it comes to the flu vaccine, there are some prevailing myths and misconceptions. However, research shows that not only does the flu vaccine reduce flu illnesses overall,4 vaccinated children who do get sick tend to have milder symptoms and have a lower risk of flu complications5 such as respiratory and heart problems. Remaining unvaccinated during flu season can put populations at risk such as children or people with a weaker immunity system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ,4 unvaccinated children are more likely to die from the flu.

Protecting Your Child: The Flu Shot

Of course, being vigilant about protecting your family from the flu starts with simple, common sense steps that help prevent infection, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with others who have the flu or flu-like symptoms.

Your Three Step Anti-Flu Action Plan

As a parent, you know that nothing is more important than your familys health. Having a plan of action in place can help you put your children on the road to recovery sooner if they get sick this flu season.

How Does The Flu Spread

During the cold winter months, the flu spreads rapidly. We know that it is highly contagious and can be spread before you even have symptoms. But do you know how it is spread and passed from person to person so easily?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not due to cold weather. Although the cold, dry air may mean the virus moves and infects people more easily, it does not actually cause the illness. It’s also not really spread through the air the way many people think it is.

Also Check: When Should A Senior Citizen Get A Flu Shot

How Is Flu Treated In Babies And Children

Your babys provider may prescribe an antiviral medicine to prevent or treat the flu. An antiviral is a medicine that kills infections caused by viruses. Antivirals can make your babys flu milder and help your baby feel better faster. Antivirals also can help prevent serious flu complications, like a lung infection called pneumonia. For flu, antivirals work best if used within 2 days of having signs or symptoms.

If your baby is at high risk for flu, his provider may prescribe an antiviral as soon as he begins to have flu symptoms. All children younger than 5 are at high risk for flu, especially children younger than 2. Children who were born prematurely or who have chronic health conditions, like asthma or sickle cell disease, also are at high risk.

Three medicines are approved in the United States for preventing or treating the flu in children:

  • Oseltamivir for children as young as 2 weeks. This medicine comes as a capsule or liquid.
  • Zanamivir for children at least 5 years old. This medicine is a powder that your child breathes in by mouth. It isnt recommended for people with breathing problems, like asthma.
  • Peramivir for children at least 2 years old. This medicine is given through a needle into a vein by a health care provider.
  • If your child has the flu, help him get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. He may not want to eat much. Try giving him small meals to help his body get better.

    Are Some Children More Likely To Have Serious Health Problems Caused By Flu Than Others

    4 Ways We Risk Catching the Flu

    Yes. Babies and children younger than 5 years oldand especially those younger than 2 years old– are more likely than older children to have complications from the flu. Premature babies also are at increased risk of serious complications from flu. The CDC recommends that premature babies get most vaccines, including the flu vaccine, according to their chronological age . Even if a baby is born small or with a low birthweight, she can get her vaccine at the same time as other babies who are the same age. If you have a premature baby, talk your babys provider to make sure your baby gets the flu vaccine on time. Children with chronic health conditions, like asthma, heart disease or blood disorders, also are at high risk of flu complications.

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    What Else Can Help

    To make spreading the flu less likely, everyone in your family should::

    • Wash hands well and often with soap, especially after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food
    • Never pick up used tissues.
    • Never share cups and eating utensils.
    • Stay home from work or school if they have the flu.
    • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, then put it in the trash.
    • Cough or sneeze into their upper arm, not their hands, if a tissue isn’t handy.

    The Absolute Number One Way To Avoid Catching The Flu Is Through The Exercise Of Good Personal Hygiene

  • Wash your hands frequently when you are out.
  • In public restrooms, use a paper towel to open bathroom doors and turn on taps.
  • Although Im normally not a big fan of hand sanitizer, I always carry it with me in my purse during flu season. I use it generously when Im out, before and after touching things that everyone else has been touching, like the handle of the shopping cart, door knobs, and debit machines.
  • Use sanitizing wipes to wash your hands and wipe the steering wheel when you get back into your vehicle.
  • Avoid touching your face this welcomes germs that are on your hands into your body.
  • During the height of flu season, consider taking a quick shower and changing clothes when you return home, particularly if you have been in a germ-ridden place like a doctors office or pharmacy. Or Wal-Mart every time I go there, I see loads of sick people sneezing and coughing into their hands, then touching items on the shelves.
  • Make sure the kids change clothes and thoroughly wash their hands when they return home from school.
  • I shouldnt really have to say this, but.remember to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.
  • If your local area is being hit hard by the flu, practice avoidance to keep your family healthy.

    9. Stay home as much as possible. 10. Stay away from sick people if you can.11. Avoid eating at restaurants you dont know the health or hygiene habits of the kitchen staff.

    19. Take a high quality, organic multi-vitamin.

    Also Check: How Long Does Flu Vaccine Work

    The Perfect Viral Storm

    A co-infection occurs when a patient contracts multiple pathogenseither of same type, such as two or more viruses, or different classes, such as a virus and a bacterium or fungus. This happens during many diseases estimates suggest that 43 percent of patients hospitalized with flu-like symptoms are actually infected with multiple viruses. During Delta wave in India, many COVID-19 patients also got infected with mucor or black fungus.

    Knowing this possibility, scientists in China first investigated whether flu and SARS-CoV-2 co-infection could occur in January 2020, they didnt find any cases in a study of 99 COVID-19 patients. But a follow up one month later found that about one in nine patients in a single hospital at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China, had caught both diseases.

    In the U.S., a study done between March 1 and April 4, 2020, in New York City showed that only one patient among 1,996 people hospitalized with COVID-19 was co-infected with influenza 2 percent were co-infected with other respiratory viruses.

    The reason for these initially low co-infection rates may have been an unusually mild flu season in 2020. The CDC estimated that the U.S. saw over 35 million flu cases and 380,000 hospitalizations in the 2019-2020 flu season. By contrast, only 1,675 confirmed cases of flu were reported between September 28, 2020 and May 22, 2021, with a hospitalization rate of less than one per 100,000 people.

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