Flu is a relatively common disease and millions people get it. In fact, many of us have flu at least once a year. Flu or influenza is essentially the respiratory tract infection that affects lungs, bronchial tubes, throat and nose. Flu happens frequently between late fall and early spring. However, it could also happen during the hottest days of summer. Flu is caused by virus and it spreads easily among people. Saliva droplets are like micro bombs with billions of viruses that may spread due to sneezes, coughs or even typical speeches. Flu virus could also be attached on door handle and faucet handle, potentially infecting dozens of people. One characteristic of viruses is that they mutate frequently. So, there are nearly endless strains of influenza virus out there.
Every year, new strain of flu virus emerges and no one is prepared for it. Even if you had a flu vaccine recently, there’s no guarantee that you will be protected. That’s the reason why people are affected by flu every year. Virus is the simplest living organism and it’s persistent. Obviously, young children are the most vulnerable, because their bodies don’t develop enough resistance. Adults could be exposed to flu a few dozen times before, so they are resistant to some of the strains. Elderly also have weaker immune system due to their age, so they need to be protected as well. In fact, people with very weak immune system could develop fatal pneumonia after being exposed by typically harmless flu virus.
Symptoms of common flu include cough, sore throat and fever. Some may have milder symptoms like muscle pain, chills, physical weakness and headache. Typically, people experience these symptoms less than a week. Most of the time, people can’t do daily activities normally when flu reaches its peak. Complete recovery could take one week or more, depending on the strain of the flu and immune system. It’s important to try reducing the risk of flu. It’s necessary to take proactive efforts, so the chance of getting flu can be reduced greatly.
- Boost immune system: Maintaining proper immune system only takes some common sense. As an example, you should sleep early and getting 8 hours of sleep is recommended, if possible. Regular moderate exercises are beneficial to keep your immune system at its peak performance.
- Get vaccinated: Although new strains make latest vaccines ineffective, you should still get yearly flu vaccine. So, you can be protected against older strains that could still spread in your area. Although there are many strains of flu out there, vaccines could provide protection against most common strains.
- Stay hygienic: Preventive hygiene can help to prevent the spread of virus. When flu outbreaks happen in your area, you should wear a mask. Although virus can penetrate many objects due to its small size, your mask can still prevent droplets from coming into direct contact with your nose and mouth, greatly reducing the risk of flu. Minimize contact with door handles and other objects that many people touch. As an example, you should push the door with your elbow, instead of touching the handle with your hand.