Flu Season

FLU Season and Vaccinations

Flu season is here! So, with the spring and summer coming to an end, people needn’t worry about seasonal allergies or West Nile virus until next year. They should now be more focused on the next seasonal health scare, the flu.  Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory infection that causes headaches, overall soreness, muscle aches, and fever.  In some cases, influenza can also trigger more severe health conditions such as pneumonia. The flu virus has many variations, and they are continually evolving. The flu is a very contagious infection that puts 200,000 people in the hospital each year. The flu can also be fatal, causing anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths annually. Not to be confused with the stomach flu, influenza is an annual health concern and is not caused by bacteria or parasites. Influenza is a virus that can have various origins.

There are Different Types of Flu

  • Type A influenza. It can be argued that the type A flu virus is the most unpredictable. Since type A influenza can be spread to animals, it is more likely to become an epidemic. It is difficult to ascertain the origin of species from which the virus came. It is a strain of the flu that is continuously evolving, making it more challenging to treat or develop vaccinations. A2 influenza is a contagious secondary sub-form of the type A virus. It is spread by those people that are already infected with type A. It is also spread from surfaces touched by an infected person, and also can become airborne through sneezing. Epidemics such as bird flu and swine flu come from the type A flu strain.
  • Type B influenza. The type B flu virus is similar to the type A virus in that they both are the causes for the mass epidemics that occur most every year. The strain differs from type A in that it is only found in humans and no other species.  In some cases, human reactions to type B influenza can be mild. In other cases, however, people can become very ill from the type B strain. There are no subtypes of type B influenza.
  • Type C influenza. The type C influenza virus is less severe than the other strains of the flu. It also is not responsible for mass epidemics and generally is mild in comparison. The infection occurs in humans, and it is also contagious.

Flu Vaccination Help Prevent the Flu

Doctors strongly urge people to get vaccinated for the flu because of how quickly it can spread and how fatal it can be. Furthermore, up to 20% of the US population contract the flu every year. Specific flu strains, such as the bird flu, do not have vaccinations. However, it is important to vaccinate against as many other variations of the flu virus as possible. Because the flu virus changes rapidly, researchers update versions of the flu shot twice a year. They work to discover the three or four variations of the flu that occur each year to combat the infection from the virus.

The vaccine itself is basically a dead or weakened strain of the flu virus. It is injected into the arm to assist the immune system in recognizing ways to combat the virus without allowing it to fight back. People who get vaccinated are not likely to get the flu unless they have medical conditions which dramatically weaken the immune system. The flu vaccine is available at most pharmacies, emergency centers, and even in some schools and college campuses. They are not expensive, with prices ranging from $5 to $30 per immunization.

It is not advised by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people to skip vaccinations. The CDC recommends that all people over the age of six months receive a flu shot every six months. They suggest two shots a year for a couple of reasons. First, the virus changes constantly, and vaccinations from six months ago may no longer be effective later in the year. Second, the strength of the immune protection provided by injections naturally declines over time, making it less likely for the vaccine to prevent the flu from taking control.

The flu is an annual health concern, so everyone needs to get vaccinated to prevent this erratic virus from spreading and causing a flu epidemic.

The Emergency Center is here for you if you get the flu! Do not hesitate to come to The Emergency Center, because complications of the flu can be deadly.  The Emergency Center provides up to 23 hours of Observation and offers 24/7 care with NO WAITING. Visit one of The Emergency Center’s convenient 24-hour locations in ArlingtonFort Worth, and San Antonio.