Fighting the winter foe: Understanding seasonal flu

Published 10:52 am Friday, January 5, 2024

Staff report

As the winter season starts, we are reminded of the rise of seasonal flu, an annual outbreak that disrupts lives and overwhelms healthcare systems. Globally, health officials are alarmed by the increase in respiratory infections among children aged 8 to 11. With the flu season’s onset, the rising number of cases emphasizes the need for more awareness and early preventive steps.
Influenza, or flu, is more than just a severe cold; it’s a highly transmissible respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can lead to serious problems, especially in young children, older adults, and those with certain long-term health problems. The flu shows signs often mistaken for a common cold, such as sore throat, fever, cough, body aches, and extreme fatigue, but it can get worse quickly.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control advise getting the seasonal flu vaccine, which lowers the risk of getting sick and makes the sickness less severe for those who contract the virus. This vaccine is particularly important for protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.
Beyond vaccination, everyday practices like frequent handwashing are key in flu prevention. The virus can live on surfaces and hands, so regular cleansing with soap and water is crucial. Embracing the elbow cough or sneeze, wearing a mask, and staying away from sick individuals are effective habits preventing the spread of germs drops.
During the busy holiday season and flu activity peak, staying home if you develop symptoms is essential for getting better and stopping the flu from spreading. Workplaces and schools should teach about the flu and make health the most important. If symptoms continue or get worse, seeking medical advice is strongly advised.
As we navigate these cold months, let’s embrace warmth and wellness, ensuring our defenses against the seasonal flu are as strong as our spirits. By staying informed, getting vaccinated, and adhering to preventive measures, we can contribute to a healthier season for ourselves and those around us.
This article was provided for the Tribune by Mohammad Abdulrahman and Paola Litton, Lawrence County Health Department. We encourage our readers to stay informed, prepared, and ever mindful of health and safety.

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