You might have heard about how harmful the 2018 flu season is. So far this flu season, which spans from October through May yearly, 30 children have died of the sickness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older individuals, younger youngsters, pregnant women, and other people with long-term health circumstances are at higher danger for flu problems. Anyone might be affected, although, including those who got a flu shot. So how harmful is that this flu season, actually? Here’s what you want to know concerning the signs, dangers, and ideas that may enable you to keep wholesome.
How harmful is the flu?
While the flu is widespread — the CDC estimates that hundreds of thousands of individuals get it yearly — it is nonetheless one thing you must take critically. It can land you within the hospital and even kill you. Yes, older individuals and younger youngsters are extra doubtless to expertise extreme instances, nevertheless it’s not remarkable for a usually wholesome twentysomething to die from the flu, because the tragic case of a 21-year-old from late final yr exhibits. This as a result of the flu can lead to deadly complications, together with pneumonia and sepsis.
It’s estimated that this season, there have been twice as many outpatient medical visits for influenza-like sickness as there have been right now final yr. “This year, the predominant virus strain is H3N2,” says Darria Long Gillespie, an ER physician and senior vice chairman of medical technique on the health recommendation website Sharecare. “Not only is that virus strain less common, it also typically is linked with more severe cases and a greater number of complications of the flu.”
What signs ought to I be careful for?
Even in case your case does not require a physician’s go to, the flu is not any picnic. Symptoms include a cough, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nostril, complications, fatigue, physique or muscle aches, and fever (though not everybody who has the flu will get a fever). That stated, you possibly can’t know for positive that you’ve the flu unless you take a laboratory test.
Won’t the flu shot maintain me from getting it?
Each yr, researchers formulate a flu vaccine meant to shield towards the three or 4 flu virus strains they assume would be the commonest in the course of the upcoming season. But getting the vaccine does not assure you will not get the flu. After researchers determine the strains probably to trigger probably the most hassle annually, viruses can mutate, and viruses that researchers did not anticipate can turn into prevalent. This signifies that “making a vaccine for the flu is a constant moving target; it is difficult to make a vaccine that is a perfect match,” Long Gillespie says.
The CDC hasn’t yet released statistics on the effectiveness of this season’s vaccine, however it acknowledges that getting it’s no assure you will keep away from sickness (for reference, final season’s vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent).
Before you ask, sure, it is best to nonetheless get your flu shot. “Remember, the vaccine does two things: prevent you from getting the flu in the first place, and if you get it, reduce the severity,” Long Gillespie says. You’ll need all the assistance you will get in preventing the flu this season. Getting the vaccine is a brilliant step.
What else can I do to keep away from the flu?
Even when you’re not pregnant, aged, an toddler, or coping with persistent sickness, it is necessary to scale back your danger. Getting correct sleep, sufficient vitamin, and common train can all assist maintain your immune system robust: Long Gillespie says that wholesome habits like these have been proven to chase away respiratory viruses just like the flu.
You also needs to be hand-washing religiously (and do not draw back from the Purell). “This is the season where you can be a complete germophobe and it’s entirely fine,” says Long Gillespie. “Wash your hands frequently, carry hand sanitizer, and either wash or sanitize after touching shared surfaces [and] before you eat or touch your face.”
An evaluation within the BMJ final yr, in the meantime, means that taking vitamin D can decrease your danger of creating a respiratory an infection, together with the flu. Looking at knowledge from 25 research and over 10,000 individuals, researchers noticed that vitamin D dietary supplements appeared to decrease an infection danger by about 10 % in individuals who weren’t poor within the vitamin and by about 50 % in individuals who have been. To study whether or not you may benefit from extra vitamin D, take a look at our guide to the sunshine vitamin.
What occurs if I get the flu?
“For most of us, while the flu will make you feel miserable for a few days, you will get better on your own,” Long Gillespie says. If you are feeling like crap, do not attempt to push by way of it by going to work or yoga — relaxation and hydration are your new greatest buddies till you are feeling higher. If you expertise any confusion, shortness of breath, or extreme lethargy, do not hesitate: See your physician. Particularly when you’re an grownup coping with a fever that hits 103 degrees or higher or doesn’t go away within a couple of days, it is necessary to search medical consideration so your situation does not spiral.
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