As flu season peaks, it’s imperative to understand exactly what the flu is, when to get the flu vaccine, and how you can prevent yourself from catching it. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to get vaccinated, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that flu activity is low at this time.
In the United States, flu season peaks between December and February, but can run until May.
During this time it is crucial to know the difference between the common cold and the influenza virus. Luckily, your trusted McAllen sinus relief specialists at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT are here to explain everything you need to know about the flu.
What to Know About the Flu
The flu is a contagious respiratory disease brought on by influenza viruses, and which can result in severe infections in the nose, throat, and even the lungs. Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the illness.
During flu season, it is vital to be aware of the fact that there are two separate flu strains, type A and type B.
These two strains are the source of the seasonal flu epidemics that generally occur every year. Type B flu is only found in humans and generally causes a less severe reaction when compared to type A. Another important distinction is that type B does not result in pandemics.
Symptoms of the Flu
Depending on the type of flu strain that is affecting you, and the severity of the illness, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Fever (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
Why the Flu Vaccine is Important
You might ask yourself why the flu vaccine is important. Despite the fact that the flu vaccine won’t help to protect you from COVID-19, it is proven to lessen the risk of catching the flu, being hospitalized, and — in the worst-case scenario — a flu-related death.
It is also worth noting that by getting the flu vaccine, you could be saving vital healthcare resources for those that have been infected with the coronavirus. The CDC states that the flu vaccine minimizes your risk of needing to pay a visit to the doctor by 40-60%.
Additionally, getting the flu vaccine is beneficial for those with chronic health problems because it can lower the rate of a cardiac event, can reduce hospitalizations related to chronic lung disease, and is associated with a lower risk of hospitalization for those with diabetes.
The flu vaccine is also helpful for women throughout and after pregnancy, school-aged children, and those who get vaccinated but still find themselves getting sick.
How You Can Do Your Part in Preventing the Flu
According to the CDC, throughout the 2018-2019 flu season, roughly 35.5 million people caught the virus, which resulted in about 34,000 deaths in the US. The best way to stay safe during flu season is to prevent yourself from catching it.
The best preventive measure to take during flu season is to get your flu shot. The next important steps you can take are:
- Washing your hands regularly (use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available)
- Keeping your distance from those who are ill
- Staying home when you are ill
- Covering your mouth when sneezing
By taking these precautions and taking care of yourself during flu season, not only are you saving yourself from catching the flu, but you are also protecting others from the illness.
The Glatz Group Encourages You to Fight the Flu
Although the flu is not usually fatal, here at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT, we strongly urge those debating whether or not to get a flu shot to do so. By taking this preventive measure, you can save lives and keep those you love healthy.
If you experience symptoms that are similar to the flu, but which turn out to be allergies or sinuses, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.