What’s with the Flu?
Oh flu season, your presence continues to scare everyone from new moms, teachers, business owners and in our experience at Northwest Health, our Accounts Payable team (Shout out to Camille!) . In my experience the flu was a term normally used to excuse myself from a test I was ill (pun intended) prepared to take. Looking back, I now realize I had no idea the differences between the flu and a cold. I also believed several myths popular in our culture about the flu vaccination.
Lucky for you, Northwest Health has compiled some info from our providers about the flu and what you need to know.
What is the Flu?
The flu also known as Influenza is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A, B or C viruses.
Wait, three flu viruses? Yes, but typically influenza A and B cause the annual influenza that impact 20% of the population. This is your normal sniffling, aching, coughing and high fever. Type C flu symptoms are much less severe.
How do I get the Flu?
This is somewhat gross, so bear with me. People with flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. Most experts in the healthcare field believe that flu spreads mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Here is where it gets a little disgusting; those droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly inhaled into the lungs. Word to the wise: If someone coughs or sneezes, RUN! Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
How do I prevent the flu?
Get a flu shot (vaccine)! A common myth is that a flu shot can cause flu illness. The flu shot is an inactive flu virus , this means it is not infectious. The CDC recommends the flu shot because flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults and people with chronic health conditions.
Other ideas for preventing the flu are:
- Avoiding close contact with sick people
- Encouraging those who are sick to stay home
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Frequently washing your hands
We hope you take this information to heart, or in the flu’s case to lungs and stay healthy this flu season. If you have symptoms of flu or would like to know how to get a flu shot, contact Northwest Health and we’ll get you fixed right up.
Cameron Corbet is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Northwest Health Services and works with healthcare professionals to provide education on important health issues.