NEW VIDEO “Understanding The Flu”

About Influenza

With Bill Ledford RN FNPC

Influenza, or flu, is a dangerous virus that affects millions of Americans – even to the point of becoming fatal. Learn about symptoms, treatments, statistics and other valuable bits concerning the flu in this video from the specialists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic.

Comprehensive Flu Information

CDC Says “Take 3” Actions To Fight The Flu

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever

CDC urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu)

Take time to get a flu vaccine.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.

Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness (People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older)

Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.

Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

What to do if you are sick with or are experiencing flu-like symptoms:

Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

What is the difference between antiviral medications and antibiotics?

Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.

Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For people with high risk factors, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.

Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the

United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

How do flu vaccines work?

Flu vaccines (the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine (LAIV)) cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: influenza B viruses, influenza A (H1N1) viruses, and influenza A (H3N2) viruses. Each year, one flu virus of each kind is used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.

There are two types of vaccines:

The “flu shot” — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
There are three different flu shots available: ◦a regular flu shot approved for people ages 6 months and older a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older, and ◦an intradermal flu shot approved for people 18 to 64 years of age.

The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that is given as a nasal spray (sometimes called LAIV for “Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine”). The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine do not cause the flu. LAIV is approved for use in healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Seasonal flu vaccines protect against the three influenza viruses (trivalent) that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The viruses in the vaccine can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. While some manufacturers are planning to produce a quadrivalent (four component) vaccine in the future, quadrivalent vaccines are not expected to be available for the 2012-2013 season.

About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against the influenza viruses in the vaccine develop in the body. Information specific to the 2012-2013 season including the flu vaccine formulation, can be found at 2012-2013 Flu Season.

Who Should Get Vaccinated This Season?

Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:

People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu. This includes: ◦People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

Pregnant women.

People 65 years and older

People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications. This includes: ◦household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. These include:

People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.

People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.

Children younger than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and

People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)

People with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine and who are not at risk for severe illness from influenza should generally not receive vaccine. Tell your doctor if you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Your doctor will help you decide whether the vaccine is recommended for you.

When Should I Get Vaccinated?

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as flu season vaccine becomes available in their community. Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so availability depends on when production is completed. If everything goes as indicated by manufacturers, shipments are likely to begin in August and continue throughout September and October until all vaccine is distributed.

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