Sex Differences In Mortality
The high mortality rate of the influenza pandemic is one aspect that sets the pandemic apart from other disease outbreaks. Another factor is the higher mortality rate of men compared with women. Men with an underlying condition were at significantly more risk. Tuberculosis was one of the deadliest diseases in the 1900s, and killed more men than women. But with the spread of influenza disease, the cases of tuberculosis cases in men decreased. Many scholars have noted that tuberculosis increased the mortality rate of influenza in males, decreasing their life expectancy. During the 1900s tuberculosis was more common in males than females, but studies show that when influenza spread the tuberculosis mortality rate among females changed. The death rate of tuberculosis in females increased significantly and would continue to decline until post-pandemic.
Death rates were particularly high in those aged 2035. The only comparable disease to this was the black death, bubonic plague in the 1300s. As other studies have shown, tuberculosis and influenza had comorbidities and one affected the other. The ages of males dying of the flu show that tuberculosis was a factor, and as males primarily had this disease at the time of the pandemic, they had a higher mortality rate. Life expectancy dropped in males during the pandemic but then increased two years after the pandemic
Vaccine Effectiveness & Omicron
Expert studies have shown that the risk of severe illness from Covid-19 is reduced by 90 percent or more among people who are fully vaccinated.
While there are breakthrough cases of Covid among people who are vaccinated, they are rare.
In the event of a breakthrough case, victims are highly unlikely to be hospitalized with severe or deadly symptoms from the virus.
Health officials have advised that the Omicron variant is more infectious and could lead to further breakthrough cases.
Yet the spread can be offset by all vaccinated Americans receiving a booster shot.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant.
With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Studies have also shown that side effects from the vaccine are extremely rare.
CDC data shows that after seven days, the risk of transmission is drastically reduced.
“In that five-to-seven-day window, you know, there’s some depending on whether people have been vaccinated, underlying conditions, etc., but the risk drops a lot and the feeling is that in the general population, combined with masking, etc. the risk really is very low,” Arwady explained.
What Is Herd Immunity And Could It Play A Role In Stopping The Spread Of Covid
Herd immunity occurs when enough people become immune to a disease to make its spread unlikely. As a result, the entire community is protected, even those who are not themselves immune. Herd immunity is usually achieved through vaccination, but it can also occur through natural infection.
Experts initially estimated that somewhere between 60% and 70% of the population needs to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity. More recently, they have raised that estimate to near 90%.
Achieving herd immunity through natural infection means many people would become ill and many would die. These risks may fall as we develop effective treatments. However, we still don’t know how long people who recover from COVID-19 will remain immune to reinfection.
Ideally, we will achieve herd immunity as more people around the world receive vaccines that will confer lasting immunity.
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Physical Distancing Masks Vaccines And Other Preventive Measures
You’ve gotten the basics down: you’re wearing your mask when you need to, avoiding crowds, and keeping your distance. But you likely still have questions. Does wearing a mask protect you, others, or both? How exactly will physical distancing help? And what do you need to know about the new COVID-19 vaccines?
Visit our Coronavirus Resource Center for more information on coronavirus and COVID-19.
Avoid Touching Your Eyes Nose And Mouth
Germs are most likely to enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
You cant control everything you inhale, but you can reduce the risk of infection by keeping your hands away from your face.
If you do have to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, do it with a clean tissue, or wash your hands first.
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Preventing The Flu Depends On You
What is influenza ?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
How does the flu spread?
Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can then land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. A person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
How can I protect myself and others from getting the flu?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a three-step approach to fighting the flu: vaccination, everyday preventive actions, and the correct use of antiviral drugs .
Step 1: A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.
- There are many different flu viruses, but the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three viruses that research indicates will be the most common.
- Everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu each year.
- Children younger than 6 months of age are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for or live with them should be vaccinated to protect these babies.
- There is an ample supply of flu vaccine this year, so get yours today.
Step 3: Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
Cloth Face Coverings Or Masks
Cloth face coverings or masks can be used in public settings, such as grocery stores, where you may be in close contact with others and its difficult to maintain your distance.
According to current guidelines, a face mask or covering should be worn whenever youre within 6 feet of other individuals.
Its important to know that a cloth face mask doesnt offer the same level of protection as surgical face masks or respirators. However, when worn by the public at large, they can still help reduce the community spread of viruses.
This is because they help prevent people without symptoms from transmitting viruses via their respiratory droplets.
You can make your own at home using a few basic materials, such as cotton fabric, a T-shirt, or a bandana. The CDC includes instructions for sewing your own with a machine as well as two no-sew methods.
They should fit snugly against the face, covering both your nose and mouth. Also, use ties or ear loops to keep them secure.
When removing the cloth face mask, try to avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Cloth face masks shouldnt be used by children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who are unable to remove their own masks.
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How Is Flu Treated
There are drugs available that your doctor may prescribe to treat flu. The drugs work best if started soon after symptoms begin. Your doctor can determine if you need treatment.
People sick with flu should make sure to drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, wash their hands often and stay home to avoid spreading the flu to other people. Over the counter pain relievers may help people with the flu feel more comfortable. Children and teens with the flu should never take aspirin, because a rare but serious disease called Reye syndrome can occur. Do not give cough or cold medicines to children younger than 4 years of age.
Remember: Colds Are Hard To Stop
Practicing these tips can help break the cycle of infection. But you still need to know your limits. Colds can be hard to stop. By the time your kid starts coughing, it might already be too late — people can be contagious before they show any symptoms.
If your best attempts to prevent a cold from spreading fail, don’t feel like you did anything wrong. Short of keeping a sick family member in quarantine — or everyone else in biohazard suits — there’s just no surefire way to stop the common cold.
Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, pediatrician, clinical instructor, Mattel Childrenâs Hospital UCLA, Los Angeles author, Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents’ Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers.
American Academy of Family Physicians’ FamilyDoctor web site.
California Childcare Health Program.
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Which Precautions Are Still Necessary If You Have Not Been Fully Immunized With The Covid
Wear masks as advised by the CDC. Physically distance. Socialize outdoors. Avoid crowded indoor spaces. Wash your hands frequently. If you are not fully vaccinated, these are essential precautions you should take to reduce your risk of catching or spreading coronavirus.
But what about some other precautions you may be taking? Do they help, or is it okay to let them go? Let’s take a look.
You don’t need to wear gloves when running errands. It’s true that a person can get infected if they touch a surface or object that has viral particles on it, then touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. But this is not the main way the virus spreads. What’s more, gloves won’t prevent this type of transmission, and may even make it more likely that you will touch your face. Instead, wash your hands before you leave the house, use hand sanitizer when you’re out and about, and wash your hands again when you get back home. In between, try to avoid touching your face.
You don’t need to disinfect groceries or takeout containers. The risk of infection from food or food packaging is very small. The CDC advises against using disinfectant intended for hard surfaces on cardboard or other grocery items, which can absorb the chemicals. If you are concerned about takeout, transfer food to your own serving dishes. And wash your hands and disinfect your counters after putting away your groceries or handling takeout containers.
What Causes The Flu
The flu is caused by flu viruses that spread from person to person. When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks, they spray tiny droplets. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person may get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
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What Can I Do When Social Distancing
Try to look at this period of social distancing as an opportunity to get to things you’ve been meaning to do.
Though you might be avoiding the gym right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. Take long walks or run outside . Do some yoga or other indoor exercise routines when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Kids need exercise too, so try to get them outside every day for walks or a backyard family soccer game .
Pull out board games that are gathering dust on your shelves. Have family movie nights. Catch up on books you’ve been meaning to read, or do a family read-aloud every evening.
It’s important to stay connected even though we should not do so in person. Keep in touch virtually through phone calls, Skype, Zoom, video, and other social media. Enjoy a leisurely chat with an old friend you’ve been meaning to call.
If all else fails, go to bed early and get some extra sleep!
Can A Person Who Has Been Infected With Coronavirus Get Infected Again
Natural immunity to COVID-19 is the protection that results from having been sick. But we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts, or how strong it is. We are learning that vaccination strengthens the natural immune response and reduces the risk that you will get infected again.
There have been confirmed cases of reinfection with COVID-19. In other words, a person got sick with COVID-19, recovered, and then became infected again. It’s also worth noting that someone who has been reinfected even someone with no symptoms has the potential to spread the virus to others.
We have also learned that people who have gotten sick with COVID-19 benefit from getting vaccinated. A study published in MMWRreported that people who were unvaccinated were about twice as likely to be reinfected as people who were fully vaccinated.
The bottom line? Get vaccinated whether or not youve already had COVID-19.
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What Types Of Medications And Health Supplies Should I Have On Hand For An Extended Stay At Home
Try to stock at least a 30-day supply of any needed prescriptions. If your insurance permits 90-day refills, that’s even better. Make sure you also have over-the-counter medications and other health supplies on hand.
Medical and health supplies:
- soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- tissues, toilet paper, disposable diapers, tampons, sanitary napkins
- garbage bags.
Get An Annual Flu Vaccination
Make sure you get a flu vaccination each year. The predominant circulating flu virus changes from year to year, so youll need to update your vaccination each year.
Keep in mind that it takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to be effective. If you get the flu after a vaccination, the shot may reduce the severity and duration of your illness.
Due to the high risk of complications in people over the age of 65, you should get your flu vaccination early in the season, at least . Talk to your doctor about getting a high-dose or adjuvant vaccine . Both are designed specifically for people ages 65 and older.
A high-dose vaccine contains about four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot. An adjuvant vaccine contains a chemical that stimulates the immune system. These shots are able to build a stronger immune response to vaccination.
In addition to getting your annual flu shot, ask your doctor about the pneumococcal vaccinations. These protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and other bloodstream infections.
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What Is Physical Distancing And Why Is It Important
The COVID-19 virus primarily spreads when one person breathes in droplets or aerosols that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes.
Physical distancing refers to actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. For an individual, it refers to maintaining enough distance between yourself and another person to avoid getting infected or infecting someone else. Directives to work from home, and cancelling meetings and larger events help enforce physical distancing at a community level.
If I Want To Visit Friends And Family Does It Matter Whether We Meet Indoors Or Outdoors
You are better off meeting friends and family outdoors. We know that coronavirus spreads when someone breathes in virus that an infected person emits through coughs or sneezes, or when they talk or breathe. Research has shown that in a confined, laboratory setting, droplets containing viral particles can remain afloat for eight to 14 minutes. Smaller infectious viral particles, called aerosols, can drift around in the air even longer.
Outdoors, air currents are more likely to scatter and dilute the virus, making transmission less likely than in a home, office, or other confined space with limited air circulation. Even outdoors, if you are not fully vaccinated, follow CDC guidance on masking and physical distancing, to reduce risk even further.
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Boost The Immune System
The immune system protects the body from infection. When it is functioning properly, the immune system launches an attack on threats, such as flu viruses.
While the immune system usually does a good job of regulating itself, certain disorders, allergies, asthma, and some medications can limit immune function.
The following strategies can benefit the whole body, including the immune system:
- eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- exercising frequently
- reducing stress
Studies have produced some interesting findings concerning the immune system and the flu.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the functioning of the immune system. In people with low baseline vitamin D levels, taking supplements of the vitamin may halve the risk of respiratory infections such as the flu.
Meanwhile, flavonoids, which are antioxidants found in blueberries, red wine, and black tea, may help to control the immune response. According to a 2016 review , taking flavonoid supplements may reduce the incidence and impact of upper respiratory tract infections.
In addition, physical activity can have either a positive or negative effect on the functioning of the immune system. Regular moderate exercise reduces the risk of infection, while intense exercise, such as marathon running, could increase the risk.
Cold Prevention Tip : Disinfect
Cold germs can live on surfaces for hours. Consider disinfecting areas like tabletops, doorknobs, remote controls, and toys. Use a disinfecting spray or wipe. Or make your own by mixing 1/4 cup bleach with 1 gallon of warm water. Don’t make yourself crazy wiping down everything your sick preschooler touches — there’s no way to keep a household sterile.
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Wash Your Hands Regularly
Clean hands protect against many infections, including flu. Keeping your hands clean is an easy way to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Wash your hands with soap and running water regularly and dry them thoroughly with a single-use towel. You can also use an alcohol-based handrub if you cant get to soap and water.
Remember washing your hands properly takes about as long as singing Happy Birthday twice.
WHO /Harold Ruiz