Influenza, also known as “flu,” is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. It is an infection that attacks one’s respiratory system, including the nose, throat, and lungs. While it shares the term flu with the intestinal or stomach flu, influenza does not usually cause diarrhea and vomiting. Influenza inflates worldwide with an annual attack rate with an approximate percentage of five to ten percent in adults and 20 to 30 percent in children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the publication, these annual epidemic were approximated to grow to about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. People who have influenza experience fever, along with other symptoms, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the publication, these accompanying symptoms include:
- sore throat
- muscle or body aches
- runny or stuffy nose
- fatigue or tiredness
- vomiting and diarrhea, in some circumstances
According to Mayo Clinic, influenza has its own resolution of symptoms, since its cause is viral. However, the complications of the disease could be deadly, as per the publication. The population that is vulnerable to developing complications includes young children below five years of age with emphasis on those below two years old, adults more than 65 years old, pregnant women, residents of nursing and long-term care facilities, people who are immunocompromised, people who are obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, and people who have chronic disease, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes. There are a number of ways to prevent influenza. According to CDC, stopping the germs that cause influenza is the top priority to prevent the illness. The publication said that washing the hands often would help defend the body from microbes. According to most references, a triad consisting of running water, soap, and friction are the elements of a good handwashing technique. In case running water and soap are unavailable, an alcohol-based hand rub can be utilized. Influenza is caused by viruses, which can be passed from person to person. Hence, it is vital to stop the chain of transmission of the infection, according to Web MD. Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of “The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu” Neil Schachter told the publication that surfaces of computer keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and pens, possess high potential for acquiring germs, so these should also be sprayed with anti-microbial agents, in addition to handwashing. Nutrition is one of the ways to avoid having influenza. According to Health, eating healthy on a regular basis, which includes foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, boost the immune system of the body. Fruits and vegetables are parts of the food pyramid and they serve as excellent sources of various vitamins and minerals, which are essential to the body’s processes, both macro and micro levels. According to Best Health Mag, having oneself vaccinated with the influenza vaccine stands as the single best way to prevent seasonal flu each year. Vaccination should be done annually, since the strains of the influenza virus have the tendency to change, in most references. As per Best Health Mag, vaccination is vital for those people who are vulnerable to develop complications of influenza, in addition to professionals and their patients. In line with this, it is important to check the vaccination clinic time and location with the local health center or authority. Overall, while there are medications and vaccines that can prevent flu, good health habits still remain as the best approach to can help stop the microbes that cause influenza.