This flu season has been particularly nasty, with reports of vaccinations not working, emergency rooms filling up, and a quickly escalating death toll. In California alone, 17 people under the age of 65 have died due to the flu. The supervisor of the Northern California Kaiser Permanente flu vaccine program, Dr. Randy Bergen, predicts this flu season will be even worse than last year’s, which was the most severe in 10 years. Here’s what our San Jose personal injury lawyers want you to know about the flu, and how to keep yourself and your family safe during this epidemic.
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious illness that targets the respiratory system (the nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is a dangerous illness that can sometimes be fatal. The influenza moves through the body and into the respiratory tract, where it binds to your cells. The virus transmits its genetic information into your cell’s nucleus, copying itself and mimicking the functions of the cell. The flu can cause the respiratory tissues to become inflamed; it around a week, or until the immune system gets rid of the virus.
The flu spreads through affected persons’ saliva and mucus, when they release tiny droplets from coughing, talking, or sneezing. People with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days. Symptoms typically begin on the second day of illness, and can include fever, chills, sore throat, cough, nasal congestion, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common symptoms in young children. Knowing how the flu spreads and how to stop it are essential in preventing this illness in your family.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) holds that the best way to prevent contracting the influenza virus is by getting a vaccine shot each year. The flu vaccine helps your system develop antibodies that can protect against influenza virus infection. Researchers take educated guesses on which viruses will be most prevalent in the upcoming season to use in the vaccines. Everyone over the age of six months should get the flu vaccine every year. Other steps you can take to prevent getting the flu include:
The flu is a serious illness that’s been taking more lives than usual this season in California. Take action to make yourself safe and to increase your odds of preventing the flu from taking hold in your family.