Influenza or Flu is caused by a virus by the name of
influenza virion, part of the Orthomyxoviridae family.
And yes, it’d the kind of family that you would like
to avoid. Unfortunately,it’s not always possible to
avoid the flu bug especially when you must be in places
where there are crowds of people.
Hand-Washing Advice To Avoid Influenza
Sometimes you hear the sage advice, “Avoid people during
Flu season.” Have you ever gone to a grocery store when
there weren’t crowds of people? Even though avoiding people
would reduce your chances of getting the flu, following this
advice is not realistic. Traveling on public transportation,
going to restaurants, theater, and ball games all increases
your chances of contacting the flu.
A Sneeze is Worth a Million Germs!
We have all heard the old chestnut, “A picture is worth a
thousand words.” Well, here is my original one, ” A sneeze
is worth a million influenza germs!” Actually, I never counted
the germs, but those tiny droplets of water that fly through the
air when someone sneezes can each be carrying a flu bug. Coughing
is another way the flu germ goes airborne Now you can better
understand why Michael Jackson wore a face mask!
Let’s say that no one sneezed or coughed anywhere near you. Are
safe from the flu bug? Unfortunately, a person may have sneezed
or coughed into their hand just before opening a door. Now the flu
bug is waiting for the next person to touch the door knob. When
you pass through the door, you have unwittingly contacted the flu
germ. Again the point is made…hand washing is important!
Hand Washing Could Prevent Influenza
Yet there is good news. As long as you don’t touch your mouth, you
are safe from getting the flu. Try as you might, if you are like most
people, you will be touching your mouth numerous times during the day.
And yes, that’s a “Gotcha!” Now, if you washed your hands after
passing through that door, you would eliminate the hand to mouth
contamination of the flu bug. (Many germs are enter our body
from hand to mouth contamination.)
If You Acquire the Flu Will You Die?
Fortunately, most healthy people will survive a case of
the flu. The flu will cause you pain and misery but your will likely survive.
( I won’t minimize that pain and suffering either.)
Evey muscle in your body may ache, you may have a wicked fever,a headache,
and a runny nose. Worse yet, you could have other adverse effects3
as the flu progressed into pneumonia and bronchitis.
Who is Most at Risk From Influenza?
People with weak immune systems are most at risk from influenza.
This would include young children and older adults. If someone is already
ill, a case of the flu could be deadly. Some of us will acquire the
flu even if we have the much ballyhood “flu shot.” The flu shot is
designed to protect us from just a couple of strains of the flu bug.
It may not stop every strain of influenza, but at least it will
protect us from identified major ones. And that’s a good thing.
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