Say the word ‘Flu’ and people respond with a simple head nod or shrug, with the immense assurance that all will be well soon. Say the word “Influenza”, and immediately a gloom is cast. Let’s clear the air once and for all. In effect, Flu and Influenza are the same. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. For pregnant women, children under 5, the elderly, those with chronic medical conditions, and healthcare workers (who also pose a threat to other patients), the flu is more severe and can result in hospitalisation or death.
There are various strains that cause influenza: Type A and B are known to cause seasonal epidemics, and present symptoms like fever, sore throat, chills, fatigue, cough, headache and muscle aches.
Each year, 3 to 5 million cases of severe influenza are reported worldwide. Depending on the virus’ ability to harm a person, influenza-associated deaths can range from 290,000 to 650,000 people.*
Young children catch and spread the flu more than any other age group. Thousands of children are hospitalised every year; much more than older people.
So, what’s the solution?
Vaccination is the first and the best way to protect us from flu and its complications.* Those vaccinated are less likely to catch the virus and develop serious complications compared to those who are unvaccinated. In addition to that, vaccination has several more benefits like-
- Fewer ear infections in children
- Improvement in acute lower respiratory tract infection
- Reduced hospital visits & hospitalization
- Reduced absenteeism from work or school (in the case of children)
- Less antibiotic consumption
- Reduced influenza attack rates
- Reduced asthma attacks
- Fewer episodes of wheezing & pneumonia
Getting vaccinated keeps everyone safe. Remember, it’s not just about you, it’s about everyone around you. So, promise to keep your children, and the children around them, safe from the flu. Click Here to take the pledge.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu symptoms and complications. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/complications.htm Accessed January 24, 2018
Updated Date: Oct 01, 2019 19:39:46 IST