4 Myths about the ‘Flu

March is the official start of Autumn so it’s time to start getting ready for winter illnesses.  That means the ‘Flu season is just around the corner.

There are loads of misconceptions around the ‘flu and the flu immunisation.  So here’s a bit of back ground about the ‘flu and the vaccination.

Myth 1: Influenza is a mild illness and “not a problem”.

This probably comes from the the common cold being mis-labelled as the ‘flu or to give it’s proper name Influenza.   You’ll even hear illness described as “tummy flu” which is gastro-enteritis (or poos and spews).  Like everything different people get affected differently.  I’ve only had the ‘flu once and it’s not an experience I want to repeat.  I would have considered myself fit and healthy at the time (it was over 10 years ago, so in theory I was at the healthiest I’ll ever be) I had close to 2 weeks off work, and spent the first 5 days in bed.

In the US ‘flu is associated with over 23,000 deaths and over 226,000 hospitalisations each year.

Healthy adults may only have mild symptoms, or may not show any symptoms at all, and so carry one their usual routines inadvertently spreading the ‘flu around their friends and family.

Myth 2: Influenza is only contagious if the person with the illness shows symptoms.

Like a lot of infections that affect the airways (or respiratory tract to give it’s technical name) the ‘flu virus is transmitted in droplets of saliva that we generate when talk, cough, or sneeze.

These droplets can then be inhaled by other people, or can land on and contaminate the surroundings.   Infection occurs when we pick up the virus from surfaces, airborne droplets, or contact with mucous membranes (lining of the mouth is an example of a mucous membrane) of infected people.

Because it takes around 2 days for symptoms to occur after infection, we can be spreading the virus without realising we’re unwell.

 

Myth 3: I’ve never had the flu, so I don’t need a flu shot.

I’ve never been hit by a car when I’ve crossed the road.  That doesn’t stop me taking precautions like looking where I’m going or stepping out in front of traffic.

The same thing applies to the flu.  If the ‘flu has passed you by last year that’s no guarantee it’s going to miss you this year too.  The flu virus mutates regularly too, so the vaccination that you got last year may not protect you this year.

 

Myth 4: Nothing can be done to prevent ‘flu

There are a number of things you can do to no only protect yourself, but protect others around you.  Vaccination is an extremely effective way of reducing your risk of contracting the ‘flu.  You can reduce the risk by following good hand washing techniques, using “good cough etiquette” covering your face when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding contact with others when you’re ill.

 

Book you flu jab here

 

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