Author: Allan Wright
It is that time of the year again, when influenza strikes thousands of people. The term “Flu”, a contagious respiratory illness, is caused by influenza viruses. It spreads from person-to-person and can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases it can lead to death. Deaths generally result from complications such as pneumonia, ear or sinus infections and the worsening of existing chronic medical conditions. Presently there are two strains of flu, seasonal flu and the H1N1 (Swine) flu, that are circulating here in the USA. The seasonal flu usually starts during the fall and continues through early spring. This is the flu that we are all familiar with, however the H1N1 is a new strain that we have not seen before. The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to seasonal flu, but are more severe and may include additional symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Who is at Risk?Everyone is at risk of contracting the flu virus, both the seasonal and the N1H1 virus. Most healthy people recover from the flu without problems, but certain people are at a high risk than others for serious complications.Those at higher risk and therefore need to be more cautious include: • Pregnant women • People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age. • Emergency medical personnel and Health care workers • Those 65 and older. • Anyone between 6 months and 24 years old. • People 25 through 64 who have a chronic health disorder or reduced immune systems. How does the Flu spread from person to person?The H1N1 virus is spread from person-to-person in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread; by contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person. • This can occur by direct bodily contact or touching something with virus on it (shaking hands with a person who has the flu) and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. • Respiratory droplets are generated by a person coughing or sneezing near you coming into contact with your mouth, nose or eyes, as in an elevator or other enclosed area. How do I protect myself? First of all everyone should get vaccinated against both the Seasonal and H1N1. The Flu shot is the easy, effective and inexpensive way to protect yourself and your family from catching the flu virus. Recommended personal protective measures include: • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away immediately in the trash after you use it. • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze or have been in public places. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. • Have and use a personal flu kit when there is a risk of exposure to respiratory droplets from an infected person and when travelling. • If you are sick, avoid public interaction as much as possible until 24 hours after signs and symptoms have ended without fever-reducing medications. • Stop smoking to help prevent severe, life-threatening complications from the flu. Use your Zippo Lighter to start a Zippo Lighter Collection, not to light that cigarette. • If weather permits, open windows to keep rooms well ventilated and air fresh. Can I improve my Immune System?There are a number of ways to improve the efficiency of your immune system. These include: • Eating well. A diet rich in vegetables and containing items known for their immune system benefits (mushrooms, broccoli and probiotics) can go a long way in helping you protect yourself. As foods rich in Vitamin D are rare, it is a good idea to take 1,000 UI of Vitamin D (400 UI for children) per day. • Drink plenty of water. • Stop drinking Coffee and reduce refined white sugar from your diet to boost your immune system. Caffeine robs your body of minerals and vitamins. • Get sufficient Sleep. Many studies have shown that a lack of sleep hurts immunity to some illnesses. • Be active every day. Active people are generally less affected by the flu than those that are sedentary. • Staying clean. Regular hand washing and the disinfecting of objects touched regularly (phones, computer keyboards, door handles etc.) remains the best first line of defence against contracting infections. Is there an end in sight?While it is difficult to predict how the H1N1 flu will pan out, it now appears that the virus is coming in waves. Keep in mind, seasonal flu typically arrives in November and peaks in January-February. Therefore, it is still going to be important to take precautions into the spring. Remember, the H1N1 vaccination remains the best way of protecting yourself against this influenza virus.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/the-2009-2010-flu-season-tips-that-can-help-you-through-1509667.html
About the AuthorMr. A Wright is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of First Aid Kit Products. A distributor of high quality First Aid and Disaster Preparedness Products. He brings all of his knowledge and experience in the field of Family safety and Emergency Preparedness to First Aid Kit Products.
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