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The Essentials on The Flu

Updated on October 9, 2013

Danger of Flu

Depending on the severity of the disease, complications from the flu can be troublesome for certain people. When potentially 1 in 5 people in the U.S. experience the flu each year, and many of them experience complications, some of these flu-related problems can lead to deaths.

Despite being as common as it is, the flu should not be taken lightly because of its deadly potentials. Common symptoms like the headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever do not draw immediate concerns from most people.

However, when complications involves dehydration, pneumonia, or the worsening of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or asthma, then the real danger is much more apparent.

Who Is At Higher Risk For Flu?

Those with weaker immune system, such as seniors and young children, are definitely more vulnerable to the flu. But there are a few more groups of people who are also at high risk for the flu as well.

  • Pregnant Women
  • Healthcare workers
  • People with chronic conditions (asthma, heart disease, diabetes)
  • Caregivers

So when combined all these groups together, the chances are that you and I have someone close to you who are at risk of the flu, and should receive a flu shot during this flu season.

Flu Season Is Here

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The Flu Vaccine Guide

Even though the symptoms of the flu make each flu season seem the same as the one from the previous year, but in fact, each flu season is different and affect people differently according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Different Types of Flu Vaccnies

Trivalent vaccines

  • Protect against three different type of flu viruses
  • Standard dose vaccines available for those 6 months or older
  • High dose trivalent vaccines approved for seniors 65 and older

Quadrivalent vaccines

  • Protect against four different types of flu viruses
  • Available in standard dose shots
  • Nasal Spray form of a vaccine, in standard dosage, approved for healthy individuals age 2-49 years old.

Egg Allergies

Since the vaccines are manufactured from virus grown in eggs, people with severe egg allergies might be advised against getting the vaccines.

Side Effects of The Flu Vaccine

Some people might be afraid that because the vaccines are made from virus, they might actually get the flu from receiving the flu vaccine. Although side effects are a possibility, getting the flu from the vaccine is not one of them.

After the flu shot, individuals may experiencing redness and swelling on the spot of the shot, and possibly a low fever or body aches.

For those who chose the route of the nasal spray, they could experience symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.

What We've Learned So Far

  • Many people other than children and seniors are at high risk of the flu
  • Flu complications can become deadly
  • There are different types of flu vaccines
  • People with egg allergies might not be suited for the flu vaccines

From The Experts

The Flu vs The Cold

Due to similar symptoms, people often cannot make the distinction between the flu or the cold. They are certainly comparable, but the severity of the two conditions can be miles apart. While a cold can lasts a few days, the flu can lasts weeks, and is a much more serious health problem than a cold.

Symptoms like sneezing and stuff nose are shared by both conditions, but high fevers are usually only seen with the flu, which can be much more dangers than mild fevers that occur from a cold. In addition, fatigue and extreme exhaustion are more of a sign of the flu, and are rare for people with the cold. Finally, flu complications like pneumonia can be life-threatening.

Natural Food to Fight The Flu

Medications certain help with fighting the flu, but natural food and drinks can also help boost your immune system and help you reduce your risk and recover from the common flu this season. Here are a few that you can try out during this flu season according to the AARP.

  1. Carrots - The beta-carotene form carrots can help your body fight off respiratory infections
  2. Yogurt - The fermentation from Yogurt results in probiotic, which help us strengthen our immune system
  3. Mushrooms - Increase the body's resistance to viral infection, and lowering risk to develop a severe flu.
  4. Chicken Soup - It is a remedy from grandma because it works. Only catch is you must consume the soup through the illness to see its benefits according to a study.
  5. Tea - Antioxidant in tea, whether it is Green Tea, Black Tea, or others, can help reduce the risk of flu

Tips For This Flu Season

By now, you have learned a few things about the flu, the flu vaccines, and how to fight the flu. So during this flu season, if you are in one of the high risk group, go get your flu shot as soon as possible. You can get them in many places, and some are even free. But the most important thing to remember during any flu season is to boost your immune system, because it is your body's natural defense against disease, and it have proven to be effective against a disease like the flu.


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