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Flu Shots: What You Need to Know 

By: Jessica Vandelay

flu shotsInfluenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can be mild to severe and in many cases lead to death. Each year according to the Centers for Diseases Control, between 5 to 20% of the U.S. population gets influenza, also known as the flu. There are many ways to prevent the flu including getting a flu shot each year.

The flu is caused by two main types of influenza viruses: Type A and Type B. These viruses are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics. Through the course of a flu season, which occurs in the coldest months of the season, these influenza viruses can be broken down into sub-types and cause illness. Also, influenza viruses constantly change through a random accumulation of mutations process called antigenic drift. To read more about the pathology of the influenza viruses, read Consumer Reports on Health, Medical News and Prevention magazines.

Flu germs are spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with the flu. Flu symptoms include usually high fever, headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches. Digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur but are more likely in children than adults. For more information on flu symptoms read health magazines like Menís Health, Womenís Health and Health magazine.

Every year more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications and approximately 36,000 people from the illness. Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Certain people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccine, or flu shot. The flu shot is a vaccine that contains inactivated or killed viruses that is administered to people through a needle. In 2008 Time magazine reported there are plenty of doses of flu shots available for the American public.

People above age 6 months are approved by the CDC, to receive the flu shot. There are also the options of a nasal-spray flu vaccine and antiviral flu drugs to treat and prevent the flu. For more info, read health magazines and medical magazines or check with your doctor or healthcare provider.

Also, practicing good health habits is the second-best way to help prevent the spread of germs and thus the spread of the flu and other contagious illnesses. Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with the flu. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Good health habits to prevent the spread of germs include avoiding close contact with others, especially those who are sick and when you are sick; stay home from work, school and public places when you are sick; always cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing; wash your hands often, especially after using the restroom; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. For more ways to avoid or outsmart the flu, read tips in health magazines like Womenís Health, Menís Health and Health magazine.

About the Author:

For more on health magazines, visit Jessica Vandelay is a freelance writer from New York City.

Article Source:

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate                                      

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