If you enter a public space like a school, grocery store, and workplace, you'll likely be exposed to germs that could give you the flu. This article shares information on the flu and how the flu shot could help.
What is the Flu?
"Flu" is short for Influenza and refers to viruses called Influenza A and B. They are common respiratory viruses. A virus works by taking over a cell in your body and using it to create copies of itself, thus reproducing. Influenza is contagious.
It's commonly believed that the flu is spread through contact with moisture from the respiratory system. For example, two people kissing or someone coughing on another person are ways the flu can be spread. Also, it can be spread more indirectly; for example, shaking hands with someone who has the flu may expose you to the flu if that person had breathed or coughed into his hand.
What are the Symptoms?
Some people, especially children, have symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Body aches and pain, sore throat, moderate to severe fatigue, cough, runny nose or congestion, and fever and/or chills are all symptoms of the flu. Sometimes the flu mimics the symptoms of a common cold, but the flu feels much worse than a common cold.
With a cold, you can usually still go about your day, just try to get some extra rest and vitamin C. With the flu, you feel so terrible you can barely leave bed. The flu can also cause high fevers which are less common with colds. The muscle aches and pains of the flu are unmistakable.
Immunization against Influenza
You can defend yourself from the flu by reducing contact with sick people, washing your hands, and improving your immune system with good health and nutrition. However, even if all these conditions are met, you might still get the flu. That's why your best line of defense is immunization. You should get a flu shot each year. Shots are widely available at doctors' offices, small clinics, and even some grocery and convenience stores. Since people still die from the flu each year, everyone wants to pitch in help you get vaccinated.
Reasons to Receive Influenza Immunization
- Your Health. As mentioned, people still die from the flu even in our day and age—death is uncommon, but getting the flu is common and is always an unpleasant experience.
- Cost. Flu shots are often free, especially in the months leading up to flu season. Even when they are not free, the immunizations are fairly cheap among vaccinations.
- Health of Others. If you were to get sick and have contact with other people, you could accidentally spread the illness to them. This possibility is taken care of if you make sure you are vaccinated.