Winter is coming, and so is the Flu. Know your ‘enemy’.
You’ve heard it all before. ‘Fore-warned is fore-armed’, and my own personal favourite, ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.’ But, if you’re fighting blind, how are you going to beat this unseen enemy called Flu? Hey, we get you, so here’s the low-down on this sickness that has the potential to lay you down – permanently.
Some interesting facts and figures on the Flu
Influenza (also known as flu) kills between 6000-11,000 South Africans every year. About half of those deaths are among the elderly, and about 30 per cent in HIV-infected people. In South Africa, flu circulation is highly seasonal and frequents during winter.
The Flu FAQ
Q: What is the Flu?
The Flu is a contagious virus (spread from person to person), mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
Q: What are the symptoms of Flu?
Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches, as well as headache, fatigue, muscle pain, shivers, vomiting and diarrhea.
Q: Can I get the flu vaccine when I am sick?
Yes, if you have a mild cold or flu-like symptoms you can still get the flu vaccine, even if you have a fever. If you are sick enough to require a visit to the emergency department or the hospital you should wait until you are feeling better to get your flu vaccine.
Q: How effective is the flu vaccine?
On average the vaccine is about 60 per cent effective in healthy adults. The elderly, children less than two years old and people with weakened immune systems may not respond as well to the vaccine, but still get some protection from it. The flu vaccine does not prevent other viruses from causing colds during the winter season, it only prevents influenza viruses.
Q: If I got the flu shot last year, should I get jabbed again this year?
Yes, you’ll need to bare them buttocks again, unfortunately. The strains of flu virus can change from year to year. Bummer.
Q: How safe is the vaccine?
Flu vaccines have been around since the 1950s, and is quite safe. Flu vaccines are safe for pregnant women and their babies. Rarely, flu vaccines may cause other side effects – some people might get a little fever and soreness around the injection site. How do I prevent flu from spreading if I get sick?
Q: Where can I get more information about flu vaccines or influenza?
Check out the following websites for more info:
- The World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/topics/influenza/en/
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/flu
- The National Institute for Communicable Diseases: www.nicd.ac.za
A final word, before we go…
Flu is a serious condition, it weakens the heart, so don’t exert yourself in any way until you are better. Get plenty of rest, and visit your doctor. Then, listen to his advice, and finish your full course of antibiotics. With certain meds leaving you drowsy, it’s easy to forget to take the rights meds at the right dose… at the right time. So, simply download the Memo Health Assistant app, get a daily reminder to take your meds when you need to, and get well soon ! Download our app free for Android here.
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