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Influenza: Who Gets It?


While anyone can come down with the symptoms (and most of us do at one time or another), this viral infection normally 

concentrates its efforts on those individuals with particular health problems.

 

These individuals who are at a “high risk” for this illness are really more susceptible to a double whammy of infections.  They’re not only more likely than the rest of the population to 

contract the flu, more often than not, they usually have weakened immune systems or other health problems that also increase their odds of developing complications.  For any individual who is at high risk of developing this normally innocuous, but annoying, illness, also, unfortunately views the influenza as a very serious illness.

 

What constitutes a high risk individual?  You’re automatically at high risk for the flu if you already possess some form of chronic lung disease, like asthma, chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema or tuberculosis.

 

If you possess heart disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes or some other form of chronic metabolic disorder, you’re considered to be at high risk for contracting the flu as well.

 

The presence of severe anemia can place you at high risk, as well as possessing a depressed immune system because of a specific disease or a treatment.

 

You don’t need to have a particular illness, though, to be considered at a greater risk of developing the flu.  If you have a lowered immune system, you are in this category.  Also your age alone can place you at greater odds of developing influenza.  If you’re 65 years or older you’re automatically considered more susceptible to catching the flu.  Similarly living in a nursing home or a chronic care facility also increases your chances of getting the viral infection.

 

Thankfully, the flu can be prevented.  Each year a flu vaccine is made available.  Since the virus that causes the flu likes to change its form regularly, the composition of the vaccine is different every year.  Its composition is based on the best estimates of what the virus is expected to look like for the coming flu season.

 

The viruses found in the vaccine are inactive to ensure you can’t actually contract the flu through the inoculation.  The vaccine, though, produces antibodies so your immune system can recognize the virus and build an immunity to it.

 

It usually takes between one to two months following the injection for your system to be at its peak protection.  Then slowly, your protection declines.  The best time to get vaccinated is in November.  It’s a great idea because the inoculation not only strengthens your immune system against the flu, but it also reduces your odds of getting a severe case of it.

 

Many individuals hesitate to get inoculated fearing that they may experience an adverse reaction to it.  The vast majority of people experience no side effects from a flu shot.  One of the most common reactions is the development of a swollen, red, tender area where the shot was given.  This disappears in a few days.  But only one-quarter of the individuals who receive the shot experience this.

 

An even smaller percentage of individuals may actually experience a slight fever within 24 hours of the vaccine.  They may also find they have a mild case of the chills or a slight headache.

 

If you have an existing respiratory disease and receive a flu shot you may find that your respiratory symptoms may worsen temporarily.  However, within several days, these symptoms will improve.

 

The vaccine is incubated in a chicken egg culture.  If you know you’re allergic to eggs then you shouldn’t receive the shot.

 

Individuals in the high risk category for acquiring the flu should definitely be inoculated.  Those people, who don’t fall into the category themselves, but care for individuals at high risk, should also get the vaccine.

 

 

 

 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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Inside Mother

Home
Subscribe!
What's New?

Mother's Tea
Guest Article
Homebirth
Editorial
Best Articles
Breastfeeding
Dear Mother Dear
Reader Letters
Eternally Pregnant
Circumcision
 

Site Features

Book Reviews
Mother Books
Cartoons!
Poems
Links
Birth Stories
Site Map
Advertising

Contact Us


Birth, Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother

Go HERE for more information on the waterbirth video!


Click here to read: The Farmer and the Obstetrician

Click here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)

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Greg Cryns
The Compleat Mother Magazine
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