The Flu Guide: Symptoms, Preventive Measures, and Other FAQs

Flu Guide

The Influenza virus is one of the oldest active respiratory viruses which affects the nose, throat, lungs, and sometimes, ears. It is something we have all fallen prey to from time to time – especially in the dry and cold season. Most of the time, the Flu is a harmless, mild infection that many even consider a rite of passage for seasonal change.

In an interview with Health Magazine, Dr. Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, stated that the general timeline for flu season is β€˜October through May.’ The frequency of cases rises as the weather gets colder, peaking between October to February, when temperatures drop the farthest. Despite this, off-season peaks may occur during pandemic outbreaks, and people can still catch the flu even outside of flu season especially when their immunity is low.

How Can One Avoid Getting the Flu?

There are quite a few measures one can take to avoid getting the flu, the most effective is getting a regular precautionary checkup. If you are concerned about exposure to infections and don’t want to go out for a check-up, simply book a doctor’s appointment at homeΒ in Dubai, which is quite convenient, and safe.Β 

Here are other ways that you can avoid getting the flu:

Healthy Diet

The most natural way to avoid getting Flu is by ensuring that your immune system is healthy. Consuming vitamin C helps boost immunity, which is why having a citrus-rich diet is conducive to preventing the Flu. Other natural nutrients such as cod liver oil, beta carotene, protein, probiotics, and zinc also help build resistance to Flu and other infections.

Flu Vaccine

A more instantaneous method of Flu prevention is to get the Influenza shot. These are vaccines that provide protection against the four types of Influenza viruses (A, B, C, D) that are considered common. Most of these are intramuscular (IM) injections, while some come in the form of nasal sprays. 

Their effect lasts for about six to eight months on average, starting two weeks after injection or ingestion. It is alleged to lessen the effects of the virus by 40–60% in case of infection. In most cases, however, it may prevent it altogether.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Influenza shot is generally recommended for all people above the age of 6 months. However, consulting a doctor before getting one is necessary to avoid any risk of reaction or allergies. Although it is rare, some flu vaccines are not safe for pregnant women, or for people with certain underlying chronic conditions. Many people who have severe allergies may also show an adverse reaction to being vaccinated. If any of the conditions mentioned above apply to you, we recommend booking a doctor’s appointment beforehand, to rule out any potential threat that the vaccine might pose.

Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?

Since it is quite a common infection and can be cured, Flu shots are available everywhere. You can get the vaccination in most clinics, hospitals, health departments, college health wards, and vaccination-qualified pharmacies. Residents of Dubai can receive the flu vaccine by visiting any of the health centers that are operated by the Dubai Health Authority. An MRN (Medical Record Number) will be needed to get an appointment. People who got vaccinated through DHA already have MRNs and don’t need new ones.

What Is the Ideal Time to Get a Flu Shot?

The recommended time to get a shot so that it lasts you the whole season is a few weeks before it starts. Aim to get your vaccine by September. If someone is not able to get it by the end of October, the CDC states that it is wise to still get it in November, because Flu season lasts till May and the vaccine typically lasts long enough to cover this. Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, verifies this and recommends getting vaccinated annually before the winter season.

Experts examine samples from different strains of viruses during flu season to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness in its current form. This information is then used to decide which ingredients are required for the updated one. To make sure the Flu vaccine provides continuous immunity, it is updated annually, according to DOH. 

Who Is Most at Risk for Flu?

In general, the flu tends to be an irritating but mild virus that lasts for a spell of three to seven days. However, there are some people who may face severe effects from the flu. Children, senior citizens, and pregnant women are amongst the most common victims of extreme cases of the Flu. In many cases, healthcare workers, too, become prone to bad cases of it due to their continued exposure to germs, viruses, and bacteria. Otherwise, it is people who have underlying health conditions or chronic diseases that are hit the hardest by the Flu.

Children, specifically those under the age of 2 are the most susceptible. However, those who are under 6 months of age are under the greatest threat and may succumb to complications. Moreover, they are not eligible for the vaccine. Senior citizens above the age of 65 years are at a much higher risk as well than young or middle-aged adults, due to their compromised immune systems. Many senior citizens have underlying or chronic health conditions too, which may worsen the condition and their symptoms.

Which Diseases Can Worsen the Flu Symptoms?

Some of the chronic diseases that worsen the symptoms of the flu are all diseases that weaken the immune system. These include:

  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Diseases
  • Obesity
  • Cancer, HIV, or other condition that impact immunity

What Are the Warning Signs of Flu Complications?

Symptoms for flu-related complications can vary based on age.

Children:

  • Bluish skin color
  • High fever and shivering
  • Severe crankiness
  • Fast or troubled breathing
  • Lack of interaction
  • Not drinking fluids
  • Relapsing with worse cough and fever after initial improvement

Adults:

  • Dizziness or disorientation
  • Troubled breathing
  • Severe or recurrent vomiting
  • Pain or pressure in the belly or chest
  • Relapse (with worse cough and fever after initial improvement)

If any of these symptoms persist, it may become difficult for the patient to move around or go to a hospital. It may be better to get a doctor checkup at homeΒ so that you can get yourself checked on your own terms. You can easily book an appointment now, using the ServiceMarket app or website, to avail medical services at home.

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