September marks the beginning of the campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated against the influenza virus (also known as flu). But do you really know why this is necessary? At Triple-S, we want you to be healthy, so in this article, we offer you information about influenza and the importance of getting vaccinated.
One Disease, Several Viruses
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can range from mild to severe. In its strongest form, it can be severe and even fatal among the elderly, newborns, and people with certain chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and congestive heart failure. It can also be complicated by pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear and sinus infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual seasonal influenza vaccinations as the initial and most important step to protect ourselves. This is because there are many flu viruses, and the composition of the vaccine changes every year to protect against what researchers understand will be the most common strain during the season.
Getting the vaccine also helps reduce symptoms if you get sick while vaccinated.
How It Spreads and What Are Its Symptoms
Influenza viruses are spread mainly through droplets that are produced when people infected with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people nearby. However, transmission by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects is rare.
Influenza symptoms appear without warning, and the discomfort is worse than that of a common cold. For example, you may experience:
- Body and muscle aches
- Sore throat
Who Should Get Vaccinated?
The vaccine is recommended for children 6 months of age and older and for adults of all ages. And if you haven’t gotten the Covid-19 vaccine yet, the CDC says you can get both at the same time.
Other Preventive Measures
The steps we are taking to protect ourselves from Covid-19 also protect us from influenza. Wearing masks, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your distance work just as well against influenza.