When it comes to the flu, it feels like the season never ends—or at least it gets longer and longer every year. And the flu virus is a tricky one: Scientists are never quite sure what strain is going to hit. Essentially, there are four different types of the flu this season that someone can get. Scientists do their best to create a vaccine that helps the most people, but especially those at risk such as children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
One might think because they got the flu once already this season that they are in the clear. But that isn't quite the case for this year. There are two types of flu circulating, flu A and flu B. Within both type A and B, there are two subtypes for each influenza. Essentially, there are four different types of the flu this season that someone can get.
According to the CDC, the flu is now an epidemic. This season’s flu was just as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. But how far is the flu spreading? There are reports of the flu in North Korea and South Korea to be just as bad as the United States. Of those people visiting their health care providers in South Korea, 60%- 70% have reported influenza-like illness. In North Korea, 126,574 people had flu-like symptoms, while 81,640 were confirmed. With North Korea carrying a deadly strain of the seasonal flu, there have been four reported deaths caused by influenza. One death was an adult, while three were children under the age of five.
Everyone has a different reaction to the flu when it comes to the symptoms and recovery time. That we all know, but not everyone knows about the complications that can arise from having the flu. Those people that are at a higher risk of severe flu complications are young children, adults of the age 65 or older, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions.
The flu virus is known to spread through coughing, sneezing, and touching surfaces. But new research from the University of Maryland in College Park shows something new. People with the flu can spread the virus into the air around them just by breathing. Their research shows those who are infected with the virus generate tiny droplets that stay suspended within the air for a long time. This is true even when they aren't coughing or sneezing and happens the most within the first few days of illness.
It's that time of year again when most people start to get what doctors call the common cold. Usually, it starts with a sore throat followed by a runny nose. The next thing you know, you are missing school or work because of your cold.
The United States isn't experiencing the average flu season. Americans are suffering from one of the most severe flu seasons ever reported in U.S. history. The entire continental U.S. shows widespread activity at this point and experts are saying the country isn't ready for a severe epidemic
Although most doctors recommend that everyone must get the flu vaccination, that is not always the case. In a study completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 40% of people in the United States get the flu shot. Even if someone doesn’t get the vaccine every year, there are plenty of other ways to protect yourself from catching the virus.
Each year, flu season hits and it seems like everyone is getting sick at some point or another. While the general public gets mostly mild symptoms of illness and recovers quickly, others are not so lucky. For people 65 or above and children younger than 5 with weak immune defenses, they are at more of a risk for developing serious problems in combination with influenza. Some examples of these issues would be Pneumonia, Bronchitis, and both sinus and ear infections.