ThedaCare Health Matters
Believe it or not, it is that time of year to start thinking about getting a flu shot. We have already been giving them in our office. Influenza remains a threat to people’s health and remains a major cause for lost time at work, hospitalizations and even deaths. It is reported that thousands of people in the U.S. die from influenza every year, with the majority of the deaths in people over 65 years old.
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. The virus causes symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough, headache and muscle aches usually two to three days after being exposed, the symptoms lasting about a week and, in most cases, resolve without treatment.
There are medications that can be used to treat influenza but for most people they provide very little benefit. The virus is spread person to person through touch, sneezing and coughing. It is highly contagious. Influenza tends to occur primarily in the winter months of January through March.
The influenza virus is unique in that it can change from year to year so that people can lose their immunity. Vaccines are produced each year in anticipation of the type of virus that will be present for that flu season. The predictions are based on past history and the type of viruses that are present around the world.