There are times of the year when there is heightened awareness around the flu and how deadly it can be if we do not take specific precautions. But, we may not realize the seriousness of the flu beyond “flu season.”
It’s never too late to become educated about what you can do to be preventative so that you can lessen your risk of getting the flu.
Here are some quick facts about the flu:
- Flu cases typically start in the fall/winter, peak in February, but can also be prevalent until May.
- Flu symptoms are associated with a sore throat, a high fever, muscle aches, a cough and malaise.
- It is generally transmitted via airborne droplets and the flu is so infectious that it can sit on a surface for hours.In one case, on an airplane, where there was no air circulation, when a plane sat for 3 hours, within 3 days 39 of 54 people got the flu virus which came from one single passenger. This is evidence that the flu can be contracted and spread easily.
The History of the Flu
Historically, the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-1919 caused over 500,000 deaths. And while we have more preventative vaccinations or measures in place to counteract the flu virus, it still kills thousands each year in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worldwide, the flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people annually.
And 12,000 to 70,000 per year in the United States.
Now that I have your attention about the seriousness of the flu, you may be wondering who’s at the highest risk for getting the flu and what are the best ways you can protect yourself?
Higher Risk Patients
There are several individuals who fall into the category of being a