The 2018-2019 Flu Season is Here

BY ALLISON KOZICHAROW; EDITED BY BERNICE BORN

A

CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield
getting his flu shot

 

 

re you ready for flu season? The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

 

Influenza or flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by several viruses. Flu resembles the common cold because it infects the same organs (nose, throat, lungs) and has similar symptoms. It can cause mild to severe illness and even death. High-risk groups, which are especially vulnerable to complications from the flu, are children younger than two years, adults 65 and older, pregnant women or people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease.

 

Do’s and Don’ts

 

  • Do get a flu shot
  • Do wash your hands properly and regularly
  • Do cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing
  • Do get antiviral drugs promptly when sick
  • Do keep hydrated and get lots of rest
  • Don’t take antibiotics (flu is caused by a virus, not a bacteria)
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t overload with cold remedies or exercise

Antiviral drugs, given after someone contracts the flu, are no substitute for vaccinations, but they offer an important second line of defense. Getting prompt treatment with antiviral drugs and staying home will lessen the duration of the flu by several days and reduce the spread to others. Reducing the duration is especially important for members of high-risk groups. It is worth noting that antibiotics do nothing to address the flu, because antibiotics address bacterial infections, and the flu is a viral infection.

 

WiRED International offers two flu modules in its Health Learning Center: one for general audiences and one for healthcare professionals. The general audience module presents an introduction to flu and its prevention, signs, symptoms, treatment, risks and complications. The healthcare professional module offers a detailed examination of the flu’s characteristics, types of viruses that cause flu, antigenic drift and shift, and seasonal vs. pandemic flu.

 

Flu is an unpredictable threat, but the bottom line is that getting the vaccine is the best protection against the virus. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to build up the body’s immunity, so people should get vaccinated right way.

 

 


You can download the modules in this story, and all 400+ of WiRED’s health modules, through WiRED’s Health Module Access Program (HealthMAP) by clicking here. This easy-to-use free program will enable you to create your own customized collection of health learning modules. You can learn more about HealthMAP through WiRED's animation.

 

 

 

 

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