Flu Season is still here and has held the vast majority of the United States in it’s grips for months now. It has proven to be one of the worst Flu Seasons in decades and prevention has become a constant pastime. It’s highly contagious, proven to be deadly and it has a couple of months to go before the season ends!
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Elderly people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people) and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick.
What is Influenza – The Flu?
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) and are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. Influenza Type A has been the most prevalent type this season, however Type B has been known to infect those who have already had the Type A virus.
Who Is Considered High Risk?
Although flu vaccine is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older, it is especially important for people at higher risk of health problems from the flu to get vaccinated. They include:
- All kids 6 months through 4 years old (babies younger than 6 months are also considered high risk, but they cannot receive the flu vaccine)
- Anyone 65 years and older
- All women who are pregnant, are considering pregnancy, have recently given birth, or are breastfeeding during flu season
- Anyone whose immune system is weakened from medications or illnesses (like HIV infection)
- Residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes
- Any adult or child with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma
- Kids or teens who take aspirin regularly and are at risk for developing Reye syndrome if they get the flu
- Caregivers or household contacts of anyone in a high-risk group (like children younger than 5 years old, especially those younger than 6 months, and those with high-risk conditions
Signs and Symptoms of Flu
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms that usually start suddenly, not gradually:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccination each year. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) also recommends everyday preventive actions like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like the flu.
- Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay at home when you are sick
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
ProPac provides practical, efficient solutions with a wide range of disease control kits and bulk supplies.
- Germ Stop Kits in personal size pouches and tubes
- Cold and Flu Patient Care Kit
- N95 Respirators available by the box
- Antimicrobial Hard Surface Wipes, bulk packed
- Sundstrom Pandemic Flu Kit with NIOSH approved half mask, particulate filter and pre-filters.