When there is an outbreak of the flu virus, you should get smart and keep your family healthy. Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a viral respiratory disease. The illness is highly contagious and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Additionally, you can also contract the disease through physical contact with an infected person or touching items which have been exposed to the virus such as doorknobs, toys, and pens.

Adults can spread the disease 1–2 days before the symptoms of the disease are manifested up to 7 days after falling sick. The virus can thus, be spread long before one knows that they are infected. Children and adults with a weakened immune system can pass the virus to other people after seven days from the time they contracted the disease.

Strains of Flu

Influenza is caused by three strains of the virus. Types A, B, and C. Influenza A and B are the most prevalent and severe, while type C is mild and has few symptoms.

People at High Risk from Flu

Anyone can contract the flu virus. However, children, persons with chronic ailments, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer, people above 65 years of age, and expectant mothers, are at a higher risk.

Flu Complications

Ear infections and sinus are the common moderate complications arising from flu. Most people recover from flu within two weeks after infection, but some will develop life-threatening complications, including pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain, and multiple organ failure. Flu can also exacerbate medical problems among people with chronic ailments, including asthma and heart problems.

Signs and symptoms of Flu

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Persistent chest and abdomen pain

  • Dizziness and confusion,

  • Seizures

  • Dehydration. Children might stay for over 8 hours without urinating or fail to produce tears when they cry.

  • Severe muscle pain

  • General body weakness

  • Recurring fever and coughs

  • Prevention methods

Yearly vaccination remains the most effective prevention method against flu. You can have your family injected with a flu shot, including children who are over six months old. However, you should consult a pediatrician if your child is allergic to proteins so that they can decide if it is safe for them to get the routine jab. It is crucial that every person who comes into contact with children below six months, including your baby sitters, get vaccinated to avoid infecting your child with the virus.

Additionally, you should practice the following simple habits to keep the virus at bay:

  • Avoid close contact-Stay away from people suffering from the flu. Equally, keep your distance when sick to avoid infecting others.

  • Stay at home when sick -If possible, avoid visiting crowded places, including school, work, or social events.

  • Clean your hands –Wash your hands using soap to prevent against germs. Use alcohol-based products to sanitize your hands if the water is not available.

  • Cover your mouth and nose-Use tissue paper or handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze. This will go a long way in preventing the virus from reaching to those around you.

It is critical that you and your family get vaccinated against the flu every year. Episodes of flu can pose a significant threat to life among children and persons with suppressed immunity. Consult your physician today to have your family safe throughout the year.