Flu start: History of 1918 Flu Pandemic | Pandemic Influenza (Flu)
Where does the flu come from every year?
A computer model developed by scientists at the University of Chicago shows that small increases in transmission rates of the seasonal influenza A virus (h4N2) can lead to rapid evolution of new strains that spread globally through human populations. The results of this analysis, published September 13, 2016 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, reinforce the idea that surveillance for developing new, seasonal vaccines should be focused on areas of east, south and southeast Asia where population size and community dynamics can increase transmission of endemic strains of the flu.
“The transmissibility is a feature of the pathogen, but it’s also a feature of the host population,” said Sarah Cobey, PhD, assistant professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago and senior author of the study. “So a host population that potentially has more crowding, larger classroom sizes for children, or even certain types of social contact networks, potentially sustains higher transmission rates for the same virus or pathogen. “
There are four influenza strains that circulate in the human population: A/h4N2, A/h2N1, and two B variants. These viruses spread seasonally each year because of a phenomenon known as antigenic drift: They evolve just enough to evade human immune systems, but not enough to develop into completely new versions of the virus.
The h4N2 subtype causes the most disease each year. Genetic sequencing shows that from 2000 to 2010, 87 percent of the most successful, globally-spreading strains of h4N2 originated in east, south and southeast Asia. Cobey and her colleagues, lead author Frank Wen from the University of Chicago and Trevor Bedford of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, developed a computer model to simulate conditions in these areas.
The team used the model to test several hypotheses about why antigenically new, seasonal flu strains tend to emerge from this part of the world, including:
- Seasonality: 85 percent of Asia’s population lives in tropical or subtropical regions with no distinct winter, allowing continuous transmission of endemic flu strains and more opportunities for evolution of new strains.
- Host population size: This area contains more than half of the world’s population. The sheer number of people could contribute a larger fraction of strains that spread globally.
- Host population turnover: Birth rates have historically been higher in these areas than other temperate regions. This may contribute to a larger number of infants and young children who are more susceptible to the flu.
- Initial conditions: h4N2 first emerged in Hong Kong in 1968. One hypothesis states that this gives the viral population an evolutionary head start, thus new epidemics will almost always begin in the area.
- Transmission rates: Differences in the transmission rate of a given virus, or the expected number of secondary cases caused by a single infection, can affect the evolution of new strains.
Cobey and her colleagues simulated climate conditions, population dynamics and patterns of flu epidemics in these regions and found that only the transmission rate had a significant effect on the evolution of new strains that had the potential to spread globally. A transmission rate 17-28 percent higher in one region could explain historically observed patterns of flu epidemics.
“We basically find that increasing the transmission rate just a little bit greatly accelerates the rate at which antigenically novel strains can displace one another,” Cobey said.
Understanding how and why seasonal flu tends to originate in these areas reinforces the need for surveillance to identify new strains, not just in the affected parts of Asia, but other parts of the world with high-density populations, like west Africa. It also highlights how public health efforts to limit the spread of flu, namely widespread vaccination, can also limit the emergence of new strains.
Cobey said that while the team’s analysis focused initially on flu, it can also apply to any fast-evolving, human transmissible viruses like enteroviruses and colds.
“They spread from continent to continent over a pretty short time scale, so it will be exciting to see if we find similar patterns down the road once we have better surveillance of all these viruses,” she said.
How Long Does a Cold or the Flu Last?
With some viral illnesses, once you have been infected with it or have been vaccinated against it, you’re immune for life.
With the flu, however, immunity doesn’t last that long.
A study published in March 2017 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases confirmed that immunity declines over the months following vaccination or infection. (7)
Getting vaccinated every year is important to lower your likelihood of getting the flu. It takes about two weeks to develop immunity to the flu, and experts recommend getting vaccinated before flu season is in full swing to ensure adequate protection. (4)
“I think part of the problem with getting people vaccinated is people don’t understand how serious [the flu] can be,” says Dr. Troisi. “They confuse it with the common cold. But if you actually have the flu, you can get very sick.”
When Is Cold and Flu Season?
While it’s possible to get the flu year-round, most people get sick in the fall and winter. Flu season generally peaks between December and February, and can sometimes stretch into May, says the CDC. (8)
Most people get colds in the winter and spring, according to the CDC, but it’s possible to catch a cold in the summer or fall too. (1)
RELATED: No Flu Shot and Now You Have the Flu: What to Do?
Can The Same Home Remedies and Medicine Be Used for Both Cold and Flu?
There is no cure for a cold, the CDC says — it will get better on its own. (1) But prescription antiviral drugs may help with the flu, especially when taken within two days of the onset of symptoms. People with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease that put them at at high risk for flu complications should seek treatment right away. (9)
As for home remedies, there is evidence that zinc, taken by mouth in the form of lozenges, tablets, or syrups, can help reduce the length of colds if taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The NCCIH adds that zinc can cause nausea and gastrointestinal issues, and that it can interact with other medication, such as antibiotics. (10)
There is no strong scientific evidence that any natural product can cure the flu, says the NCCIH. (10)
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and Ibuprin) are effective treatments for fever and aches caused by either a cold or the flu. People with either illness should also be sure to rest and drink plenty of fluids. (3,4)
Additional reporting by Pamela Kaufman.
What Is the Flu? Difference Between Flu, Stomach Flu, Cold, and Influenza (Seasonal Flu)
Worried about catching the flu? Want to learn some ways to prevent it? Then read on to learn more about influenza — what it is, how it’s spread, and who’s at greatest risk for getting it. Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing flu!
What is the flu?
Influenza, commonly known as the “flu,” is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.
What’s the difference between a cold and flu?
The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. Although the symptoms can be similar, flu is much worse. A cold may drag you down a bit, but the flu can make you shudder at the very thought of getting out of bed.
Congestion, sore throat, and sneezing are common with colds. Both cold and flu may bring coughing (less common), headache, and chest discomfort. With the flu, though, you are likely to run a high fever for several days and have body aches, fatigue, and weakness. Symptoms of the flu also tend to come on abruptly. Usually, complications from colds are relatively minor, but a case of flu can lead to a life-threatening illness such as pneumonia.
More than 100 types of cold viruses are known, and new strains of flu evolve every few years. Since both diseases are viral, antibiotics cannot conquer cold or flu. Remember: Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.
Four antiviral medications are available to treat flu. But there are no medications that specifically defeat the common cold. Antibiotics may be helpful only if there is a secondary bacterial infection.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Flu Treatment.
How are stomach flu and influenza different?
“Stomach flu” is a popular term, but not a true medical diagnosis. It’s not uncommon to mistake gastroenteritis, which is what stomach flu is, for the viral infection we commonly call the “flu.” Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). Viruses are the most common cause of stomach flu. With gastroenteritis, you may have symptoms such as fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
For more about gastrointestinal flu, read WebMD’s Stomach Flu or Influenza?
How is flu spread?
The flu virus is spread from person to person through respiratory secretions and typically sweeps through large groups of people who spend time in close contact, such as in daycare facilities, classrooms, college dormitories, military barracks, offices, and nursing homes.
Flu is spread when you inhale droplets in the air that contain the flu virus, make direct contact with respiratory secretions through sharing drinks or utensils, or handle items contaminated by an infected person. In the latter case, the flu virus on your skin can infect you when you touch or rub your eyes, nose, or mouth. That’s why frequent and thorough handwashing is a key way to limit the spread of influenza. Flu symptoms start to develop from one to four days after infection with the virus.
Who’s at greatest risk for flu complications?
While anyone can get flu, infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and HIV are at highest risk for flu complications. Despite advances in flu prevention and treatment, the CDC estimates that deaths related to influenza range from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Specific strains of flu can be prevented by a flu vaccine, either a flu shot or nasal spray flu vaccine. In addition, antiviral medications are available to prevent flu. These drugs may help reduce the severity and the duration of flu and are best used within the first 48 hours of the appearance of flu symptoms.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Flu Complications.
Are there different types of flu viruses?
Researchers divide flu viruses into three general categories: types A, B, and C. All three types can mutate, or change into new strains, and type A influenza mutates often, yielding new strains of the virus every few years. This means that you can never develop a permanent immunity to influenza. Even if you develop antibodies against a flu virus one year, those antibodies are unlikely to protect you against a new strain of the flu virus the next year.
Type A mutations are responsible for major flu epidemics every few years and for the major pandemics that can occur, though rarely. Type B is less common and generally results in milder cases of flu. However, major flu epidemics can occur with type B every three to five years.
Type C causes infection but does not cause typical flu symptoms. Both influenza A and B have been linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal complication that usually affects children and teens under age 18. Widespread outbreaks of Reye’s syndrome have occurred with influenza type B and also with chickenpox, but other viruses have been implicated. The risk of Reye’s syndrome is increased when taking aspirin, so anyone under age 18 should not take aspirin if they have any viral symptoms or are recovering from the flu or any other virus.
Most influenza viruses that infect humans seem to originate in parts of Asia, where close contact between livestock and people creates a hospitable environment for mutation and transmission of viruses. Swine, or pigs, can catch both avian (meaning from birds, such as poultry) and human forms of a virus and act as hosts for these different viral strains to meet and mutate into new forms. The swine then transmit the new form of the virus to people in the same way in which people infect each other — by transmitting viruses through droplets in the air that people breathe in.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Types of Flu.
What is avian or bird flu?
Bird flu, or avian influenza, is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. Bird flu epidemics have occurred worldwide.
Bird flu is a leading contender to be the next pandemic flu bug because it has caused an unprecedented epidemic in poultry and wild birds across Asia and Eastern Europe. Still, no one knows for sure whether this will cause the next human flu pandemic.
For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Understanding Avian or Bird Flu.
Symptoms, treatment, contagiousness, and do I have it?
Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness that results from a viral infection. Flu is highly contagious and spreads through respiratory droplets. A person can pass it on while talking or through physical contact, such as shaking hands.
Influenza A and influenza B cause seasonal epidemics in the United States and elsewhere every winter. Type C usually causes mild respiratory illness.
Some strains of influenza A, such as the H5N1 “bird flu” virus, occasionally infect humans, causing serious illness. Experts track these strains carefully, as they try to predict how they will change, and how they might affect people.
In this article, we explain the symptoms of flu, the treatment options, how it differs from a cold, and how to prevent the flu.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person with flu may experience:
- a high temperature that lasts 3–4 days
- a stuffy or runny nose
- cold sweats and shivers
- aches that may be severe
- a headache
Not everyone with flu will have all of these symptoms. For instance, it is possible to have flu without a fever.
The symptoms of influenza typically come on suddenly. Initially, a person with flu mayexperience:
- a high temperature
- a stuffy or runny nose
- a dry cough
- cold sweats and shivers
- aches that may be severe
- a headache
- fatigue, and a feeling of being unwell
- a low appetite
Why do people sometimes have chills but no fever?
Flu symptoms in adults
Adults with the following symptoms should seek medical help urgently:
- breathing difficulties
- pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- dizziness, confusion, or loss of alertness
- not urinating, which may indicate dehydration
- severe pain, weakness, and unsteadiness
- a fever or cough that goes away and then comes back
- a worsening of other existing health conditions
Flu symptoms in children
Children often have similar symptoms to adults but can also have gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
If a child has the following symptoms, they need emergency medical care:
- breathing difficulties
- rapid breathing
- bluish face or lips
- chest pain or ribs pulling inward as they breathe
- severe aches
- dehydration, for example, not urinating for 8 hours and crying dry tears
- lack of alertness or interaction with others
- a fever above 104°F or any fever in a child under 12 weeks of age
- a fever or cough that goes away but then comes back
- a worsening of any other medical conditions
Should children have flu medication? Find out more here about Tamiflu and its effects on children.
Flu symptoms in babies
Flu can be dangerous for babies. If symptoms appear, a parent or caregiver should seek medical help.
A baby with flu may:
- be very tired
- have a cough and sore throat
- have a stuffy or runny nose
- have a fever of 100°F or more
- have vomiting or diarrhea
The baby needs emergency medical attention if they:
- do not want anyone to hold them
- have a blue or gray skin color
- are breathing fast or have difficulty breathing
- have a fever with a rash
- have symptoms that go away but come back again
- show signs of dehydration, for example, not urinating
- do not wake up or interact
- have severe and persistent vomiting
What happens when a baby gets a cold?
Flu type A symptoms
If a person has the following symptoms, they may have influenza type A:
- fever and chills
- muscle aches
- a stuffy or runny nose
- a sore throat and cough
Learn more here about influenza A.
Flu type B symptoms
Influenza B symptoms are similar to those of influenza A.
Learn more here about influenza B.
Most people will be able to treat the flu at home. A combination of lifestyle remedies and over-the-counter medication can help relieve symptoms.
Pain relief medication can help manage a headache and body pains. A healthcare professional can recommend the best options.
Some painkillers, such as aspirin, are not suitable for children under 16 years of age. The use of aspirin at this age can lead to a condition known as Reye’s syndrome.
Various options are available over the counter or to purchase online. It is important to compare different products and only take them under the advice of a medical professional.
How long does flu last? Find out here.
A virus causes flu, so antibiotics will not cure the illness. A doctor will only prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present alongside the flu. However, antiviral medications may help when someone has the flu.
Here are some tips on how to treat a cold or flu at home.
Antivirals aim to stop the virus from multiplying in a person’s body. Examples include oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new drug called baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza) for acute, uncomplicated flu. People can take the drug by mouth in a single dose.
People can receive this treatment if they are aged 12 years or more and have had symptoms for fewer than 48 hours. Possible side effects include diarrhea and bronchitis.
Some research shows that flu medication may affect a person’s heart. Find out more here.
Flu home remedies
When a person has flu, it is essential that they:
- stay at home
- avoid contact with other people if possible
- keep warm and rest
- consume plenty of liquids and healthful foods
- avoid alcohol
- stop smoking, as this raises the risk of complications
Other things people can try at home include:
- chicken broth
- herbal teas
- vitamin supplements
However, there is not enough evidence available to confirm that consuming these helps.
Which foods are a good choice for a person with flu?
If a person seeks medical advice for flu symptoms, a doctor will likely ask about their symptoms and do a physical examination. A doctor may also take a throat swab for testing.
The rapid influenza diagnostic test can produce results in 10–15 minutes but may not be accurate. Other, more accurate tests can take longer to give results.
Flu or a cold?
People often confuse the flu with a bad cold, as some symptoms are similar.
A cold and the flu both involve:
- a runny or blocked nose
- a sore throat
- a cough
- chest discomfort
However, there are some differences:
- A cold does not involve a fever, while the flu usually does.
- The symptoms of a cold tend to appear gradually, while flu symptoms can develop rapidly.
- Cold symptoms are typically less severe than those of flu.
- After having the flu, a person may continue to feel tired for several weeks.
- Flu is more likely to lead to complications, and it can be life threatening.
Flu or food poisoning?
There are many types of viruses, and some can affect the digestive system. People sometimes call this “stomach flu.” This illness is different from influenza, which is a respiratory disease.
The most common cause of “stomach flu” is the norovirus, which enters the body through contaminated food or drink. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food poisoning causes similar symptoms.
Is it a stomach virus or food poisoning? Find out here.
Flu or pneumonia?
Pneumonia can be bacterial or viral. The symptoms can resemble those of flu, but an individual may have a sharp, stabbing pain in the chest, especially when they breathe deeply or cough.
Bacterial pneumonia can start slowly or suddenly. Symptoms can include:
- a very high temperature
- rapid breathing and pulse rate
- blue nailbeds due to a lack of oxygen
Symptoms of viral pneumonia are similar to those of the flu. They include:
- dry cough
- aches and weakness
However, unlike the flu, symptoms of pneumonia usually develop gradually. Anyone who has a high fever and breathing difficulties should see a doctor immediately.
What is viral pneumonia? Find out here.
People can have the flu at any time, but it is more common during the flu season. The timing and duration of the flu season change from year to year, but it usually happens around fall and winter.
Flu activity often starts to increase in October, and it can last as late as May. However, it is most common from December to February.
The flu shot can help prevent flu, but it is not 100% effective. People should follow lifestyle measures to reduce their risk.
Lifestyle tips for avoiding flu
Tips for avoiding infection include:
- practicing good hygiene, including frequent hand washing
- keeping the immune system strong by following a healthful diet
- quitting or avoiding smoking, as smokers are more likely to develop complications
- staying away from people who have the flu
People should also stay away from others when they have the flu to avoid spreading it themselves.
Click here for more information on how to avoid flu.
The flu virus transmits through droplets of liquid. A person can pass the virus on to another person who is up to 6 feet away from them when they cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe.
A healthy individual can pass on the virus a day before they, themselves, have symptoms. In other words, it is possible to pass on the flu before you know you have it. The infected individual can continue to transmit the virus for up to 5–7 days after symptoms appear.
People with a weakened immune system, older people, and young children may be able to pass on the virus for longer than this.
Flu is most contagious in the first 3–4 days after symptoms appear.
How long is flu contagious? Find out here.
A person can develop flu symptoms if droplets that contain the virus and come from the breath of another person enter their mouth, nose, or lungs.
This transmission can happen if:
- Someone without the virus is near a person with flu.
- Someone who is virus free handles an object a person with the virus has touched and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes.
Research shows that just breathing can spread the flu virus. Learn more here.
The incubation period of a disease is the time it takes from when the virus infects a person to when the symptoms start.
For flu, this is around 2 days, but it can vary from 1 to 4 days.
A person can transmit the virus even before symptoms appear.
Flu can be more serious during pregnancy, as pregnancy affects how the immune system works. If a woman is pregnant and has flu, they may need to spend time in the hospital.
Pregnancy-related complications include a higher risk of:
- preterm birth
- low birth weight
Flu can be fatal for newborns. Risks to the mother include a greater chance of having complications, such as bronchitis, ear and blood infections.
What are some other causes of fever during pregnancy? Find out here.
Flu symptoms appear suddenly, usually around 2 days after infection. Most symptoms disappear after about 1 week, but a cough may last for up to 2 weeks.
In some cases, a person may still be contagious for up to 1 week after their symptoms have disappeared.
If complications develop, these can take longer to resolve. Some of the more severe types of complications can have a long term impact on a person’s health, for example, kidney failure.
Some people experience post-viral fatigue for a week or so after the main symptoms disappear. They may have a lingering sense of tiredness and feeling unwell.
Learn more here about post-viral syndrome and how to manage it.
How long does it take for a cold to pass? Find out here.
Typically, flu may progress as follows:
- The virus infects a person, usually through their nose or mouth.
- After one day, they may be able to transmit the virus to others.
- Symptoms appear 1–2 days after infection.
- The chance of transmitting the virus is highest 3–4 days after symptoms appear.
- After 4 days, the fever and muscle aches improve.
- After 1 week, most symptoms disappear.
- The risk of transmitting the virus disappears 5–7 days after symptoms appear.
- The cough and tiredness may remain for a further week.
How long does the flu last? Find out here.
The flu is not usually serious, but it is unpleasant. For some people, however, complications can arise. Some of these can be life threatening.
- bacterial pneumonia
- worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes
- sinus problems and ear infections
The risk of experiencing severe symptoms and flu complications is higher in the following cases:
- adults over 65 years of age
- babies or young children
- pregnant women
- people with heart or cardiovascular disease
- individuals with chest problems, such as asthma or bronchitis
- people with kidney disease or diabetes
- individuals who are taking steroids
- people undergoing treatment for cancer
- anyone with a weakened immune system
Sometimes a new type of flu will emerge, such as H5N1, or bird flu. What is bird flu, and should we worry about it? Find out here.
The single best way to prevent flu is to have a flu vaccination every year.
There are two types of vaccination:
The flu shot: A healthcare professional will administer the flu shot with a needle, usually in the arm. It is suitable for anyone older than 6 months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine: The nasal-spray flu vaccine contains live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause illness.
What does a flu shot contain?
Seasonal flu shot
A flu shot will contain the vaccine for several influenza viruses, according to the CDC.
- influenza A (h2N1) virus
- influenza (h4N2) virus
- one or two influenza B viruses
However, viruses adapt and change over time, and scientists may need to adjust the content of the vaccines each year.
Data from international surveillance programs help experts predict which types are likely to circulate in a given flu season. Protection begins about 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination.
Seasonal flu vaccinations should start in September or as soon as the vaccine is ready. They continue throughout the flu season, into January and beyond.
Flu shot side effects
The CDC note that the flu vaccine has a good safety record, and it cannot cause flu.
A person may experience the following adverse effects after having a vaccine, but these will be mild and usually pass within a few days.
- pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site
- muscle aches
Around 1–2 people in every 1 million may develop a condition known as Guillain-Barr syndrome (GBS). However, people can also develop GBS after having flu, and the risk of this is higher than with the vaccine. The risk of developing GBS may be lower with the nasal spray version of the vaccine.
If someone experiences hives, swelling, and difficulty breathing after any vaccine, they should seek immediate medical help as these may be the sign of an allergic reaction. A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
Click here to find out how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens.
People who have previously had an allergic reaction to a vaccine should not have the flu shot.
Is the flu shot safe? Find out here.
Flu shot pregnancy
It is safe to have the flu shot during pregnancy, and doctors recommend it. It takes about 2 weeks to provide protection. The vaccine will also pass through to the fetus and give them some protection from the flu.
Newborns cannot have a flu vaccine, but having flu can be dangerous for them. Having the vaccine can benefit both the mother and her unborn child.
Flu shot effectiveness
The flu shot cannot offer 100% protection from the flu as scientists cannot predict precisely what flu types will circulate during a season.
CDC figures from 2018–2019 show that the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing influenza A or B was about 47%.
Many factors can contribute to the effectiveness of the flu shot from year to year. These can include the age and overall health of the person receiving the vaccination, plus how well the vaccine matches the prevalent viruses.
Flu shot for seniors
The CDC recommend a flu shot for people aged 65 years or more. As people get older, they are more likely to develop complications if they have flu.
Older people may need a higher dose of vaccine, as their immune systems may be less able to resist the flu virus. The vaccine cannot provide complete protection but will reduce the risk of flu and the severity of complications.
A 2017 study looked at data for older people in hospital with the flu during the flu season 2013–2014 in the U.S. Among those who had received the vaccine, there were lower rates of fatality, fewer complications, and less overall time spent in an intensive care unit.
People who are 65 years of age or older should ask their doctor about the vaccine at the start of each flu season. The doctor will recommend a vaccine that suits the individual.
Flu shot cost
The cost of a flu shot in the private sector is around $15–$24, depending on the type.
People should check their insurance policies to find out their cover. Medicare part B, for example, provide for one flu shot every flu season.
A doctor only needs to know that a person has the flu if:
- they are already frail or have an existing health condition
- they have a weakened immune system
- they are infants or aged 65 years or over
- their temperature remains high after 4–5 days
- symptoms worsen or are severe
- they become short of breath, develop chest pain, or both
However, anyone who has concerns about their symptoms should speak to their doctor for further advice.
How can you diagnose a fever at home? Find out here.
Influenza (Flu) Information – Minnesota Dept. of Health
Download PDF version formatted for print:
Influenza (Flu) (PDF)
On this page:
What is influenza (flu)?
What are the symptoms?
Should I get a flu vaccine?
Who is most at risk for getting very sick from flu?
How is the flu different from a cold?
Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?
When should I get vaccinated?
Do children need one or two doses of flu vaccine?
What type of flu vaccine should I get?
Flu vaccine and allergies
What can I do to protect myself and others?
What if I think I have the flu?
What about antiviral medicine?
What is influenza (flu)?
The flu is a respiratory disease caused by a virus that attacks the nose, throat, and lungs. Illness is usually mild or moderate, not requiring hospitalization. However, at times flu can be severe, even leading to death. It is not the same as the “stomach flu.”
What are the symptoms?
Flu symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, headache, extreme tiredness, and body aches. These symptoms usually begin suddenly and might be severe enough to stop your daily activities.
Should I get a flu vaccine?
Yes. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get flu vaccine every year. Getting a flu vaccine helps protect you from getting the flu and prevents you from passing it to people who could get very sick.
Who is most at risk for getting very sick from flu?
- People age 65 and older
- Young children, especially those under 2 years old
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease
- American Indian and Alaska Natives
Although these groups are at highest risk, anyone can become very sick with flu.
How is the flu different from a cold?
Colds are generally less serious than the flu. With a cold, you’re more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, while the flu causes body aches, fever, and extreme tiredness. A person with a cold can usually keep up with their normal activities, but someone with the flu can’t. Flu can result in serious health problems like pneumonia, bacterial infections, and hospitalization.
Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?
No. Some people get a mild fever or have discomfort for a short time after being vaccinated, but this is a sign that your body is responding to the vaccine. It is not the flu. Also, because there are many viruses circulating in the fall, it is possible to get sick with a different virus around the same time they get flu vaccine.
When should I get vaccinated?
For best protection, flu vaccine is usually given in early fall before flu season starts. But you can get it anytime during flu season which is typically October through April.
Do children need one or two doses of flu vaccine?
It depends on the child’s age and whether they got flu vaccine in the past. If your child is 6 months through 8 years old, he or she may need two doses at least four weeks apart. Ask your doctor or clinic.
What type of flu vaccine should I get?
There are several types of flu vaccine available. The type of vaccine you can get depends on things like your age, health conditions, if you’re pregnant, and allergies. Your health care provider will know what type of vaccine you should get. The most important thing is to get vaccinated. Don’t wait for a specific type of flu vaccine to be available.
- Trivalent vaccine – This is the traditional flu shot that protects against three strains (or types) of flu: two A strains and one B strain.
- Quadrivalent vaccine – This vaccine protects against four strains (or types) of flu: two A strains and two B strains. This vaccine’s effectiveness will depend on whether two B strains of flu are circulating during the flu season.
- High-dose vaccine – This vaccine is approved for persons 65 and older and contains four times the amount of vaccine protein of the traditional vaccine. This vaccine produces a stronger immune response in people 65 and older.
- DNA technology (RIV) and cell-based flu vaccines – These vaccines are not made using chicken eggs like traditional flu vaccines. These vaccines may not be as widely available as traditional flu vaccines.
- Flu vaccine with adjuvant – This vaccine is approved for persons 65 and older. It is a trivalent vaccine that contains an adjuvant, which is a substance added to the vaccine to help create a stronger immune response.
Flu vaccine and allergies
People with an egg allergy can safely get a flu vaccine. Life-threatening allergic reactions to flu vaccine are very rare. Talk to your health care provider if you’ve had a life-threatening reaction to a flu vaccine.
What can I do to protect myself and others?
- Get vaccinated.
- Avoid being around others who are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizer.
- Protect infants by not exposing them to large crowds or sick family members when flu is in your community.
- Do not share drinking cups and straws.
- Clean commonly touched surfaces often (door knobs, refrigerator handles, phones, and water faucets).
What if I think I have the flu?
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Rest and drink lots of fluids.
- If you are in a high-risk group, call your health care provider for advice.
- Go to the doctor or the emergency room if you are having these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve, but return with worse fever and cough
What about antiviral medicines?
Antiviral medicines can offer some protection if you have been exposed to flu. Contact your health care provider right away if you get sick with the flu and are at high-risk for complications from flu.
Moderna starts human trials of an mRNA-based flu shot
Moderna gave its mRNA-based seasonal flu vaccine to the first set of volunteers in a clinical trial, the pharmaceutical company announced today. The start of the trial marks the next stage of the company’s work on this type of vaccine technology after the overwhelming success of its COVID-19 vaccine, which was built using the same strategy.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA vaccines were still largely experimental, even as they were heralded as the future of vaccine development. People who get an mRNA vaccine are injected with tiny snippets of genetic material from the target virus. Their cells use that genetic information to build bits of the virus, which the body’s immune system learns to fight against.
The high efficacy of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech was a major endorsement for this type of vaccine. Now, pharmaceutical companies plan to use this technology to fight other types of infectious diseases, including flu. The flu shots available each year in the United States are usually between 40 and 60 percent effective. The most common shots are made by growing the influenza virus in cells or chicken eggs, and then killing the virus so it’s no longer dangerous. It takes a long time to grow the virus, so companies have to start making the shots around six months ahead of time, based on predictions around which strain of the flu will be circulating that year.
Pharmaceutical companies hope that mRNA-based flu vaccines can be more effective than the traditional shots. Because they’d be faster to make, production wouldn’t have to start so far in advance, and they could theoretically be more closely matched with the type of flu spreading each season.
Moderna is the second group to start testing its mRNA flu shot in human trials — Sanofi and Translate Bio kicked off a trial this summer. Pfizer and BioNTech have been interested in mRNA flu shots for a few years, and they’re pushing forward with those plans as well.
Moderna says it hopes to eventually create combination vaccines that could protect people against flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory infections with one shot. “Our vision is to develop an mRNA combination vaccine so that people can get one shot each fall for high efficacy protection against the most problematic respiratory viruses,” Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said in a press release.
If flu shots using this technology prove to be safe and effective, it could also make us more prepared for a potential pandemic flu in the future. It’s a fairly simple process to design a shot that could target a new influenza virus. “[mRNA] gives us a very strong platform for a rapid response,” Rosemary Rochford, an immunologist at the University of Colorado, told The Verge last fall.
FLU – Start with the basics…. – BioTek reMEDys
Have you had your flu shot yet? If not – NOW is the time.
What is flu? A CONTAGIOUS respiratory illness caused by various strains of the virus that infect your nose, throat and sometimes, the lungs. Flu can be mild to severe – at times it can lead to death. The BEST way to prevent the flu is with a yearly vaccination.
How is flu different from a cold? Sudden: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, fatigue and GI distress.
HOW IT SPREADS
Tiny droplets made when people with the flu either cough, sneeze or talk ( and spray). These drops can land in the mouth or noses of people who are nearby. It can also spread by shaking hands, touching a surface that has the virus, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
You’re most contagious for the first 3-4 days after catching flu – but you can spread it even before you know you’re sick.
You will feel the onset of symptoms usually within 2 days.
Depending on how sick you get, how old you are, how immunosuppresed you might be – you can develop serious complications.
Bacterial pneumonia is the most common. Ear infections, sinus infections, worsening of chronic medical conditions – congestive heart failure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune disease- ad nauseum.
Wondering who might be at high risk for complications?
People over 65
Chronic Medical Conditions- any age
Children under 5
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT THE FLU?
1-10- GET YOUR FLU VACCINE!
Wash your hands
Avoid people with flu
WHEN IS FLU SEASON?
It’s actually year round- but it’s most common in Fall and Winter- all the way until May!
But it peaks from December to February.
GET YOU FLU SHOT RIGHT AWAY!
Let’s talk about the flu variations and mutations next time.
About Carol Miletti
Carol Miletti has primary immune deficiency disorder (PIDD) and lives in Mound, Minnesota. She is very active in the PIDD community and the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF), and has become a vocal advocate for others who want to live life fully with PIDD. After a successful career in marketing and sales, she currently writes Carol’s Corner for BioTek reMEDys and actively participates in PIDD related organizations and educational conferences.
90,000 Time to start preventing colds and flu!
How to reduce the risk of contracting
respiratory viral infections, says
otorhinolaryngologist Moseikina Lilia Alekseevna
Time to start preventing colds and flu!
– It got noticeably colder outside, Indian summer was replaced by night frosts and zero temperatures during the day, which means it’s time to prepare your body for winter. After all, the autumn season always brings with it an increase in the incidence of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza. That is why at the end of October the issue of timely prevention of these diseases is so urgent.
– The upper respiratory tract – nose, nasal cavity, pharynx – is a filter that purifies the inhaled air from a significant part of particles suspended in it. During an epidemic of a respiratory viral infection and influenza, the concentration of viruses in the air in crowded places increases sharply, and the biological protection of the mucous membrane cannot cope with the infection.
The cells of the ciliated epithelium are the first to suffer, which leads to a weakening of local protection and an even greater accumulation of viruses on the mucous membrane. The viral infection spreads further into the bloodstream and other organs, which leads to the development of symptoms of the disease, even known to children.
Therefore, we urge all Muscovites to start preventing seasonal viral infections right now. Even minor lifestyle changes will be enough to make your nose, throat, and immune system respond with gratitude.
Where to start?
- We are FOR flu vaccinations (this is the so-called specific flu prophylaxis), especially in immunocompromised populations. Vaccination remains the most effective method of dealing with influenza epidemics if a number of conditions are met:
- End of October – beginning of November – it’s time to get vaccinated, as the body needs time to develop immunity – at least 2 weeks before the estimated date of the start of the epidemic;
- It should be remembered that the vaccine contains weakened influenza viruses and only, and your body in the autumn-winter period will be attacked by more than 200 types of respiratory viruses, so you should not neglect other preventive measures;
- The flu shot should be given in a health care facility after consulting a doctor.Vaccination has a number of contraindications and should only be administered to a healthy person.
- An excellent local preventive and therapeutic agent – antiviral and immunostimulating ointments. Viferonovaya, oxolinic ointment is applied to the mucous membrane in the vestibule of the nose 1-2 times a day prophylactically before going out and in contact with a sick person. For pre-season and emergency prevention and treatment of acute respiratory infections, drugs that have both antiviral and immunomodulatory effects can be used.
- In the morning and evening, rinse your nose and gargle with seawater. Nowadays, pharmacies sell many preparations with sea water in the form of a spray, but you can also use a self-prepared solution of sea salt or ordinary table salt.
- Outside temperatures are now increasingly below freezing, but you shouldn’t dress too hot. If you use the subway, you should unbutton your outerwear in the train carriage, and on the street, on the contrary, you should cover your throat with a scarf and be sure to wear a hat, protecting your ears from the wind.
- During a period of rising incidences, avoid crowds, during the day, if possible, replace using public transport with walking. In public places (metro, clinics, offices, shops, etc.), you should wear a mask. Now in the subway you can often meet people in a mask – either a sick person deliberately protects others from infection, or wants to protect himself from an infection circulating in society. This is an example of a respectful attitude towards others and a caring attitude towards oneself.
- At home and at work, it is necessary to ventilate more often – briefly open the window wide. It is especially important to go to bed in a well-ventilated area. With the beginning of the heating season, the batteries in our houses create an unfavorable microclimate for the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs – very dry air forces the cells of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract to intensively produce moisture, depleting their resources and reducing the resistance to infection.
If you are already sick:
- Limit contacts with others, do not be afraid to seem impolite towards those who want to visit a patient, this will narrow the circle of persons – potential distributors of infection;
- Call a doctor and take a “sick leave” – a cold on your legs can result in complications that will keep you at home even more;
- Treat according to the doctor’s recommendations, because timely and correct treatment helps the body fight infection and prevents complications.
Remember, no doctor can save you from colds and flu if you do not make an effort yourself. So get started with prevention today!
90,000 Influenza – causes, symptoms and treatment
Chills in the body, headaches and muscles of the body – symptoms appear suddenly, resembling flu and SARS at the same time, but these are different diseases. The type of pathogen is a distinctive feature. Influenza is an acute infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract with a viral origin. SARS can be caused by a different combination of viruses, of which there are about 200, as well as bacteria. Diagnosis and correct diagnosis determine the choice of treatment and reduce the risk of complications. And a big role in this is played by the influenza vaccine, which helps to build the body’s defenses.
Flu symptoms and signs
The onset of the disease is always acute due to viruses and intoxication. Flu symptoms appear within hours:
- redness, sore throat;
- aching pain in muscles and joints;
- stuffy nose or runny nose;
- painful sensations in the eyes;
- severe weakness, etc.
90,022 chills and high fever;
Reasons for the emergence and development
The cause of the disease is seasonal viruses (autumn and winter). There are different types of influenza and there are three types of them: A, B and C. Mild forms of the disease are caused by type C. The reason for exceeding the epidemic threshold is from year to year A and B. The focus of the disease is an infected person. The virus molecules are resistant to survival. The room where the patient was sick can remain potentially dangerous for healthy people for up to 9 hours. On plastic surfaces, the activity of pathogenic molecules lasts up to 2 days, so prevention of influenza and ARVI indoors is important (wet cleaning, disinfection).
Do you have flu symptoms?
Only a doctor can accurately diagnose the disease.
Do not delay the consultation – call
+7 (495) 775-73-60
Main routes of infection
Influenza is transmitted by airborne droplets. An invisible drop (0.0001 ml) of secretion from the nasopharynx is enough to become infected. The virus is also transmitted in the household. If there is a patient in the house, he must have individual hygiene items and dishes, bed linen.You can also get infected by contact. For example, a person sneezed while covering his mouth with his hand. Hands are rarely washed after that. By touching various objects, a person expands the area of potential infection. Crowds of people and closed types of premises are places where the flu spreads with lightning speed.
What are the risk factors
Speaking about influenza in adults and children, there are several risk factors for complications:
- children under 6 years old and adults over 60 years old;
- the presence of cardiovascular diseases;
- chronic renal failure;
- reduced immunity due to oncology, HIV / AIDS;
- metabolic disorders.
90,022 respiratory tract diseases;
90,022 neurological disorders;
Complications after influenza
Influenza symptoms and treatment also carry a risk of complications. This is influenced by health factors. Complications can be as follows:
- pneumonia and bronchitis;
- otitis media, rhinitis, sinusitis, tracheitis;
- pericarditis, myocarditis;
- encephalitis, polyradiculoneuritis, neuralgia, meningitis, meningoencephalitis;
- exacerbation of chronic diseases.
When to see a doctor
Flu symptoms may occur within 2 hours to 2 days.You must immediately consult a doctor or call an ambulance if the condition worsens:
- breathing hard;
- repeated vomiting and bowel movements;
- impaired consciousness and low blood pressure;
- continuous temperature 38-39 ° C;
- blood in sputum when coughing up;
- chest pain.
An infectious disease doctor deals with the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.You can get a consultation and get treatment for influenza in the center of Moscow in JSC “Medicine” (Academician Roitberg’s clinic). The effectiveness of therapy depends on the definition of the virus strain, therefore, the delivery of tests will help to correctly diagnose and select drugs.
Preparing to visit a doctor
No special training is required to visit an infectious disease specialist. At the appointment, the doctor will take a history, ask about vaccinations, conduct an examination and prescribe tests. If you are already taking any flu medicine, notify your doctor.In the future, you might ask which flu shots are effective in preventing recurrence.
Diagnostics and treatment of the virus
Influenza is diagnosed by clinical manifestations. If identification of the etiological factor is required, rapid tests are used to detect viral antigen, tests of samples from the throat, nose, RT-PCR method. They are not included in the category of mandatory for everyone, but for patients at risk of developing complications they are needed. In JSC “Medicine” (the clinic of Academician Roitberg) near the Mayakovskaya metro station, modern technologies and its own clinical diagnostic laboratory make it possible to accurately diagnose, prescribe therapy or, if necessary, hospitalize.
If a person is not at high risk, flu is treated symptomatically. Prescribe bed rest, plentiful warm drinks, taking antipyretic, antitussive drugs, isotonic water for rinsing the nasal cavity and vasoconstrictor drops. Any remedy for colds and flu should be prescribed by a doctor. In severe conditions and complications, treatment is carried out in a hospital.
At home, you need to follow a diet. The diet should include not only vegetables and fruits, but also juices from them, fruit drinks, still mineral water, herbal teas (mint, chamomile, raspberries).You can eat fish, lean meat, dairy products, eggs. It is worth giving up heavy fatty and fried foods, alcohol, cocoa, fresh baked goods.
An inhaler is a popular remedy. Put your cold and flu pills aside and try sage, eucalyptus, or oak bark. Don’t forget about the phytoncides found in onions and garlic. Consume them fresh. Home therapy should include ginger tea and milk with honey. Remember also to constantly ventilate the room.
Myths and dangerous misconceptions in treatment
The question of whether to get a flu shot in the midst of a mass illness of people has an unequivocal answer – no. During an epidemic, a person may already have a virus, which will create a double infectious load for the body. The flu vaccine must be given earlier. Be careful with aspirin. It is an excellent antipyretic, but not for the flu. It thins the blood and increases the penetration of viruses into blood vessels and cells, aggravating the state of health.Hot foot baths are also known. They help relieve swelling of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract – it’s true. They can only be done during a period when there is no temperature. Otherwise, the load on the heart increases significantly. Hot inhalation with potatoes is a traditional method, but it is also dangerous with the likelihood of getting burned by the steam of the mucous membrane.
Prevention and vaccination method
Influenza vaccination is an effective means of disease prevention. It is recommended to get vaccinated in September or October.WHO recommends this annually to people at risk and workers in certain professions. These categories include pregnant women, children from 6 months to 5 years, the elderly and people with chronic diseases, nurses, teachers, caregivers, salespeople, etc. A flu shot allows you to develop antibodies in the blood within 7-14 days. The immunity will resist the attack of viruses for about 6 months. Practice good hygiene, wash your hands often, avoid people with colds, and visit less crowded places – this is the best flu prevention for everyone.
How to make an appointment with an infectious disease specialist
Make an appointment with an infectious disease specialist at Medicina JSC (Academician Roitberg’s clinic) by phone +7 (495) 775-73-60. Also on the site you can fill out an application for feedback. Clinic address: Moscow, 2nd Tverskoy-Yamskaya lane, 10, Mayakovskaya metro station. Convenient location in the central district allows you to quickly reach from anywhere in the city. Nearby within walking distance there are several metro stations: “Belorusskaya”, “Tverskaya”, “Novoslobodskaya” and “Chekhovskaya”.
90,000 How to prepare for influenza vaccination during a pandemic. What is important to know :: Society :: RBK
This year, the vaccine from the French Sanofi will not go into circulation: the manufacturer Vaxigrip has stopped supplying this trivalent vaccine due to the complete transfer of the production of influenza vaccines in syringes to tetravalent. And she is currently only undergoing the state registration procedure.
Read on RBK Pro
The epidemiological situation with the spread of coronavirus provoked an increase in demand for influenza vaccination last year.According to Petrovax (produces vaccines under the Grippol brand), in 2020 the demand for influenza vaccine in the commercial and budget segments of the market grew by 25% compared to 2019. The growth in demand is also noted in SPbNIIVS (produced by “Fly-M”). The upward trend continues in 2021.
“In the current epidemiological situation, the demand for influenza vaccines is growing steadily. People are becoming socially responsible, confidence in vaccination as an effective way of immunization and health protection is growing, ”said SPbNIIVS, without naming the exact dynamics of demand.
Due to the demand for influenza vaccines, Petrovax plans to more than double the production of Grippol Plus in 2021 – this is more than 18 million doses (but this volume also provides for about 80% of the vaccine for export). Subjects will allocate 80% of this volume to government contracts within the framework of regional purchases.
Manufacturers do not expect interruptions in vaccine production. SPbNIIVS noted that the annual application for the procurement of vaccines for the prevention of influenza has not yet been fully communicated to the manufacturers, but they predict the procurement volume of at least 2020 – 24-25 million doses. For the manufacturer, priority is given to deliveries to the public sector to support the campaign within the framework of the National Vaccination Schedule. As a rule, it is 90% or more of the total order volume.
“The production capacity of SPbNIIVS allows producing up to 35 million doses per year, and taking into account the epidemiological situation in the country, we are ready to produce the required volume to cover the country’s population,” they said, adding that the production is operating at full capacity.
The press service of Natsimbio (Rostec) told RBC that in 2020 the holding provided more than 80 million doses of vaccine for the needs of the Ministry of Health and other customers. In 2021, the enterprises of the holding continue to increase their production capacity. “At the end of June, Natsimbio has already signed the first contracts for the supply of influenza vaccines in the epidemic season 2021/22. Like last year, the first vaccine deliveries are scheduled for August. ”
What insurance companies say
Last fall, in the midst of a vaccination campaign, insurance companies faced a problem – Ultrix, one of the most popular vaccines, disappeared from the commercial sector and pharmacies.The capacities of its producer were loaded under the state order.
According to Igor Lappi, CEO of Sovcombank Insurance, the influenza vaccination campaign this year will follow the 2020 scenario, “since the flu vaccine is quite popular” and “it is not mutually exclusive in a pandemic, since, probably allows for the formation of cross-immunity. “”We do not expect a drop [in demand for vaccination], because everyone understands the importance of vaccination, especially those who have had the coronavirus and who already have quite serious delayed consequences on the body.” The company plans to apply for the same number of vaccines as in the previous year (taking into account the proportional growth of the insurer’s portfolio), and also set aside a 5-10% reserve for an increase in demand.
Ingosstrakh admits that due to the mass vaccination against COVID-19, the demand for influenza vaccination may shift to a later date.At the same time, both the representative of Ingosstrakh and Sergey Korochkin, director of the business development department of VHI AlfaStrakhovanie, believe that this year the flu vaccination will remain at the level of 2020.
It is too early to talk about potential difficulties with the campaign, says Nina Mikhailova, head of the department for interaction with providers of VHI RESO-Garantia: “Problems, as a rule, arise much later – at the stages of accreditation of actually arriving batches of vaccines, shipment of vaccines that are beginning to be in short supply due to delays in delivery times. And often it is impossible to resolve and prevent these problems. Now we can assume that there are no imported vaccines on the market, which will cause dissatisfaction with customers. ”
Is it possible to combine vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza
The difference between influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations (as well as between coronavirus vaccination and any other vaccination) must be at least 30 days. This recommendation, given last year by the Moscow authorities, is still valid, according to a RBC source in the Moscow hospital.
The coronavirus vaccine does not cancel the flu shot, explains the head of the Center for the Promotion of a Healthy Lifestyle, Irina Dobretsova. “When the time for coronavirus infection is now, any other infection can aggravate the course of this disease, there can be serious complications. If this is a mix of coronavirus infection and influenza, then it turns out that this can significantly increase the unfavorable course, ”she said. It is necessary to plan a personal vaccination schedule so that a stable immunity has already been developed by the seasonal outbreak of influenza in December-January.“It is necessary first to develop immunity to coronavirus infection, and then calmly, in the fall, in advance to get yourself vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcus,” the expert added.
Doctor of Biological Sciences, Professor of Virology Alexander Shestopalov said that at least two to three weeks should pass between injections for the body to “accept both vaccines.” According to the immunologist, Doctor of Medical Sciences Vladislav Zhemchugov, you should not get vaccinated against influenza in the interval between the first and second components of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Therapist, clinical pharmacologist Andrei Kondrakhin says that a pause between vaccinations is needed in order to more clearly determine the effect of vaccines. “A person can write off the action, the manifestation of one vaccine for another, it can distort information,” he said.
RBC applied for a comment to the Center. N.F. Gamaley – the developer of the Sputnik V vaccine.
How it is planned to avoid mass infection with coronavirus during vaccination against influenza
The Russian and Moscow authorities have not yet answered this question.However, last year, the World Health Association issued guidelines on this matter. So, it was proposed to create more vaccination points in the open air, to carry out vaccinations at home or in pharmacies, during visits to the hospital on other occasions, as well as through quick service points without getting out of the car. In addition, patients need to be assigned a clear vaccination time, before which it is not recommended to enter the point. This will avoid crowding, the organization said.
Seasonal influenza (the name reflects the appearance of the disease in the autumn-winter period, since the influenza virus is resistant to low temperatures) is an acute viral infection caused by the influenza virus (the word influenza comes from the French gripper, which means “to catch”, “to catch”).
There are three types of seasonal flu – A, B and C.Influenza viruses type A, depending on the combinations of surface proteins, are subdivided into subtypes, of which A (H1N1) and A (H3N2) are currently circulating among humans. Since influenza type C is much less common, seasonal influenza vaccines contain only influenza A and B viruses.
Seasonal flu is characterized by a sudden rise in temperature (as opposed to acute respiratory illness – ARVI), headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, runny nose, severe malaise, weakness.The disease goes away within a week, but the course of the disease can be severe and lead to the development of serious complications from the respiratory (bronchitis, pneumonia), nervous (meningitis, encephalitis) and cardiovascular (myocarditis) systems, sometimes fatal. The period between infection and illness lasts about two days. Influenza pathogens of types A and B are distinguished by their aggressiveness and extremely high reproduction rate, therefore, within a few hours after infection, the virus leads to deep lesions of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, opening up opportunities for bacteria to penetrate it.
Anyone can get the flu, with the highest risk of developing the disease noted among children under 2 years of age, adults aged 65 and over, pregnant women, as well as people with chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys, blood, diabetes mellitus …
The main route of transmission of the disease is airborne, another route of transmission is contact (through contaminated hands, since the virus persists on objects and can be found on the hands).
The beginning of the epidemic rise in the incidence of influenza is forecasted for January 2017, so there is still time to deliberately approach the issue of influenza prevention.
Vaccination is the most effective remedy against influenza. it is the vaccine that will provide protection against those types of influenza virus that are expected to be most relevant in a given epidemiological season, since they are part of it.
It takes 8-12 days to develop immunity after vaccination, the protective effect lasts up to 12 months. Those who received the vaccine either do not get the flu at all, or they get sick in a mild form, without complications. All vaccines used are registered in the prescribed manner, are safe and contain influenza virus strains that are relevant in the upcoming epidemic season.
The introduction of a vaccine into the body cannot cause disease, but, on the contrary, promotes the production of protective antibodies, which stimulates the immune system to fight infection. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine is incomparably higher than all non-specific medications that can be taken during the winter months, such as vitamins, homeopathic remedies, “traditional medicine” and so on.
Vaccination is recommended for all groups of the population, but it is especially indicated for children from 6 months, people suffering from chronic diseases, pregnant women, as well as people from occupational risk groups: medical workers, teachers, students, service workers and transport workers.
Vaccination should be carried out 2-3 weeks before the onset of the increase in incidence. You can only be vaccinated in a medical institution where there is specially trained medical personnel, and a doctor’s examination is mandatory before vaccination.
There are few contraindications to influenza vaccination. The flu vaccine should not be given in acute febrile conditions, during an exacerbation of chronic diseases, with an increased sensitivity of the body to egg white (if it is part of the vaccine).
Having been vaccinated against influenza, you protect your body from the attack of the most dangerous viruses – influenza viruses, but there are still more than 200 types of viruses that are less dangerous for humans, but can also cause SARS. Therefore, during the period of an epidemic rise in the incidence of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza, it is recommended to take non-specific preventive measures.
What to do if you get the flu?
At the first symptoms of the disease, in order to avoid infection of others and the timely start of treatment, you should immediately consult a doctor.To prevent the further spread of the infection, the sick person must be left at home and isolated from healthy people, it is advisable to allocate a separate room.
Parents! In no case send sick children to kindergarten, school, cultural events. With the flu, it is extremely important to stay in bed, since with the disease the load on the cardiovascular, immune and other body systems increases.
Self-medication for influenza is unacceptable, only a doctor must diagnose and prescribe the necessary treatment appropriate for the condition and age of the patient.
For proper treatment, it is necessary to strictly follow all the recommendations of the attending physician and take medications in a timely manner. In addition, it is recommended to drink plenty of water – it can be hot tea, cranberry or lingonberry juice, alkaline mineral waters. You need to drink more often and as much as possible.
At a temperature of 38-39 ° C, it is necessary to call a local doctor or an ambulance team to the house.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
The room where the patient is located must be regularly ventilated and wet cleaning there as often as possible, preferably with the use of disinfectants acting on viruses.
Contact with a sick flu should be limited; when caring for him, use a medical mask or gauze bandage.
How to protect yourself from the flu?
RULE 1. WASH HANDS AND PROCESS SURFACES
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Clean and disinfect surfaces using household detergents.
Hand hygiene is an important measure to prevent the spread of influenza. Washing with soap removes and kills germs. If you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use alcohol-based or disinfectant wipes.
Cleaning and regular disinfection of surfaces (tables, doorknobs, chairs, etc.) removes and destroys the virus.
RULE 2. OBSERVE DISTANCE AND LABEL
The virus is easily transmitted by airborne droplets (when sneezing, coughing), therefore, when communicating, you should be at least 1 meter away from the patient. When coughing, sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with disposable napkins, which should be discarded after use.
Limiting visits to crowded places reduces the risk of illness. Avoid using public transport if possible.
Wear a mask or use available materials as a protective bandage to reduce the risk of illness.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to avoid getting the infection with your own hands.
RULE 3. LEAD A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
A healthy lifestyle increases the body’s resistance to infection.Observe a regime, including adequate sleep, physical activity, and eat foods rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals.
State Unitary Enterprise “Medical Center of the Administration of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow
The material was prepared according to the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, World Health Organization, Institute of Influenza.
90,000 Treatment of influenza and ARVI using modern techniques at the MEDSI clinic.
Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure today.
Important! Vaccination should be carried out 1-1.5 months before the expected epidemic. Only in this case, the drug used will have time to act and the necessary immunity will be formed to the virus.
Vaccination today is carried out not only for adults, but also for children. Safe modern drugs do not harm if used correctly and preliminary monitoring of the patient’s health condition.
One of the variants of transmission of the influenza virus is contact-household.We often come into contact with infected people not only directly, but also indirectly: we take the handrails in public transport, by the doorknobs, touch the same products in supermarkets, use the same stationery, etc. Timely cleaning of our hands with soap can reduce the risk of infection … Even if the virus gets on the palms and fingers, we will remove it during the hygiene procedure.
Compliance with the “protective regime”
During influenza epidemics, you should avoid visiting crowded places.We strongly recommend that you refuse to go to cinemas and theaters, to various sports and other entertainment events. If necessary, the number of visits to large shopping centers and supermarkets should be reduced. If possible, people with weakened immune systems are better off ordering groceries delivered to their homes.
Maintaining an optimal indoor climate
Humidifying the air and ventilating the rooms creates the healthiest atmosphere possible.
Important! Dry and too warm air leads to desiccation of mucous membranes, which become a favorable place for the accumulation and reproduction of dangerous microorganisms.
Ventilation of premises (especially during epidemics) should be carried out at least 1-2 times a day. To humidify the air, you can use not only special modern devices. As a last resort, you can use simple damp rags or put containers with water in the rooms.
Taking antiviral drugs
For prophylactic purposes, modern medicines can be used. Your doctor should prescribe them! The pediatrician will select the drugs for the child.
Taking multivitamin complexes
They will help support the body’s defenses and help strengthen the immune system. Also, experts recommend introducing foods rich in vitamin C into the diet.The most affordable for many are citrus fruits, garlic and sauerkraut. You can also use cranberries, kiwi, sea buckthorn, rose hips, black currants, broccoli.
Differences between influenza and ARVI, symptoms, treatment and prevention
Influenza and ARVI actively spread with the beginning of the cold season, usually in the autumn-winter period. This is due to temperature extremes and hypothermia, lack of vitamins and insufficient exposure to fresh air due to unfavorable weather.But with reduced immunity, the risk of catching one or another ailment increases, regardless of the time of year. In everyday life, the popular name “cold” is used for all ailments associated with respiratory diseases and general malaise. However, influenza and SARS have different signs and nature of occurrence.
ARVI is an acute disease that occurs when viral agents enter the body: adenovirus, rhinovirus, parainfluenza, etc. In total, there are about 250 types of viruses. You can get infected by airborne droplets: when coughing, sneezing, communicating, as well as by contact: when using common utensils, towels, through unwashed hands.
Influenza also belongs to the group of acute viral pathologies, but its development in the body is provoked by RNA-containing viruses. They are divided into types A, B and C. The mechanisms of infection are airborne and contact. New strains of influenza appear constantly and successfully bypass human defenses, while remaining resistant to drugs. This increased ability of influenza viruses to mutate and provokes the emergence of global epidemics – pandemics. Among the preventive methods, doctors distinguish various preventive measures, including vaccination.
How to recognize a disease
- high temperature 38.5 ° C to 40 ° C;
- sharp sudden onset of the disease;
- severe intoxication of the body, which manifests itself in signs of general malaise: chills, severe weakness, drowsiness, increased sweating;
- pain in the eyes;
- pronounced painful sensations in the throat;
- runny nose, sneezing;
- shortness of breath, shortness of breath;
- severe headache, dizziness;
- pain in muscles, chest;
- in rare cases, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort.
The incubation period lasts from 12 hours to 2 days.
Symptoms of ARVI
- temperature up to 38.0 – 38.5 ° C;
- severe sore throat;
- runny nose, sneezing, cough, rhinorrhea;
- painful sensations when moving the eyes;
- pain in muscles, chest;
- general moderate weakness and drowsiness;
- lack of appetite;
- chills and mild headaches.
Incubation period – from several hours to 7 days.
Symptoms of some forms of influenza are similar to those of SARS. For example, the temperature does not always rise sharply, and not in all cases there is a strong intoxication of the body. Only a general practitioner can establish an accurate diagnosis and prescribe a competent effective treatment. Correctly prescribed therapy contributes to the rapid elimination of the disease and relieves symptoms already in the first days of the disease.
Influenza can lead to various complications, both mild (bronchitis, sinusitis, otitis media) and severe (serous meningitis, neuritis, encephalitis, etc.)etc.).
Especially prone to complications:
90,021 90,022 elderly people;
90,022 children under 2 years old;
90,022 pregnant women;
90,022 people with chronic kidney and lung diseases;
90,022 patients with cancer.
How to treat
Treatment of influenza
- Etiotropic therapy. The doctor prescribes medicines that are aimed at combating the causative agent of influenza.The earlier the treatment starts, the more effective it will be. The maximum benefit will be brought by therapy, begun in the first two days from the onset of the disease.
- Symptomatic treatment. It is aimed at eliminating symptoms. Includes admission:
- antipyretics at high temperatures;
- drinking plenty of fluids with dehydration;
90,022 antihistamines for allergic reactions;
90,022 medicines to relieve a runny nose, sore throat, etc.
- There are no specific antiviral drugs to help with ARVI.
- The doctor prescribes symptomatic drugs :
- Antipyretic medicines that relieve the condition at temperatures above 38.5 ° C;
- medicines for sore throat, runny nose, cough;
- multivitamins and vitamin C in high doses;
- methods of traditional medicine – decoctions of wild rose, herbs, teas with honey.
In addition, the doctor will recommend:
- to comply with bed rest;
- to be isolated from loved ones;
- regularly ventilate and humidify the air;
- drink a lot and do not eat heavy, fatty foods.
How to avoid illness
Prevention of influenza and ARVI is similar.
- General strengthening of immunity is useful – hardening, physical activity, daily walks in the fresh air. This should be done not from time to time, but regularly and systematically. Of the physical activities, swimming, running and cycling are especially effective. It is worth choosing the types of activity taking into account individual characteristics and age.
- Good nutrition. The body’s resistance is increased by foods that contain complete proteins (poultry, fish, seafood, legumes, eggs) and C vitamins (sauerkraut, rosehip broth, citrus fruits, black currants, kiwi, cabbage and broccoli).Other fresh vegetables, fruits and berries in season should appear regularly on the table.
- At the peak of epidemics, it is better not to visit crowded places. If public places cannot be avoided, it is worth using masks and gloves, and washing your hands thoroughly after coming home.
- Regular rinsing of the nose with solutions containing seawater is beneficial.
- You need to do regular wet cleaning in the house, ventilate the room and constantly humidify the air.
- Adequate sleep, rest and relaxation, the established daily routine will also help to strengthen the body’s defenses.
- Influenza vaccination is also considered an effective preventive measure.
Influenza and SARS are serious diseases that should not be underestimated. It can be quite difficult to distinguish between them. Correct diagnosis will help you choose the right therapy and quickly overcome the disease. At the first symptoms of the disease, you should immediately consult a doctor, since self-medication is fraught with the development of complications.
FIND OUT PRICES
90,000 Prevention of influenza and acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI) – SPb GBUZ “City Polyclinic No. 97”
Every year in the autumn-winter period, the circulation of influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses is activated, which are quickly transmitted from person to person by airborne droplets, causing a massive incidence of the population up to its epidemic level.Influenza and ARVI are among the most widespread infectious diseases, accounting for up to 90-95% annually in the structure of registered infectious diseases. According to statistical observations, every adult on average a year suffers from respiratory infections 2 times, a schoolchild – 3 times, a child of preschool age – 6 times.
What you need to know about influenza and SARS:
Influenza is an acute infectious disease with a short incubation period, caused by viruses of types A, B and C, occurring with the development of intoxication and damage to the epithelium of the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract, more often the trachea.The disease is prone to rapid and global spread, the most dangerous complication of influenza is community-acquired pneumonia, which can cause an unfavorable outcome of the disease. The flu is especially dangerous for people suffering from chronic diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory systems, diabetes mellitus, obesity. Getting sick with the flu in these people can lead to serious complications. Influenza disease in children contributes to the formation of chronic bronchopulmonary pathology, predisposes to the appearance of sinusitis, tonsillitis, otitis media; form an allergic pathology, can cause a delay in psychomotor and physical development, lead to the occurrence of secondary immunosuppression, provoke diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Acute viral respiratory infections are caused by a whole group of respiratory viruses, most often adenoviruses, parainfluenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus), coronavirus, rhinovirus. Common to these viruses is the defeat of the upper respiratory tract of a person, accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat, symptoms of intoxication, but there are also features of the clinical picture that a doctor can distinguish. SARS are easier than influenza with less pronounced intoxication of the body, less often severe complications develop.
Therefore, the prevention of influenza and ARVI, allowing to avoid or mitigate such consequences, is more than relevant.
What are the ways to prevent influenza and ARVI?
Currently, one of the effective methods of prevention is vaccination .
Immunization against influenza is carried out before the beginning of the epidemic season, the optimal time is September-November (for our region, vaccination is also possible in December, since the massive spread of the influenza virus and the epidemic rise in incidence occurs at the end of January-beginning of February next year), in order to start the epidemic spread of the infection, an immune response to the injected drug was formed in humans.After vaccination, antibodies in the body of a vaccinated person appear in 12-15 days, immunity lasts for a year. Influenza vaccines are produced for each season, they include the actual strains of influenza viruses (at least 3), the circulation of which is predicted annually by the World Health Organization.
Modern influenza vaccines, in addition to the formation of specific immunity to certain influenza viruses, increase the general resistance of the body to other respiratory viruses.Thus, domestic inactivated vaccines contain an immunomodulator polyoxidonium, which, even before the development of specific immunity, helps to increase the body’s defenses when it encounters respiratory viruses. Vaccination against influenza with vaccines of domestic or foreign production does not give 100% protection against the disease. According to statistical observations, protective titers of antibodies to influenza virus after vaccination of persons of different ages will be determined in 75-92% of vaccinated persons. Therefore, some vaccinated people get sick with the flu, however, as a rule, the disease in vaccinated people is milder, without serious complications.Vaccination against influenza does not exclude the disease with other respiratory viruses, of which there are more than 200 types, however, unlike the flu, the clinic of respiratory viral infections is not difficult, there is no pronounced intoxication of the body, the disease is limited to damage to the upper respiratory tract (runny nose, sore throat), sometimes without a temperature reaction on the part of the body.
Vaccinations against influenza are included in the National Vaccination Schedule of the Russian Federation, according to which vaccinations against influenza are subject to: children from 6 months, students in grades 1-11; students of higher and secondary vocational educational institutions, adults working in certain professions and positions (employees of medical and educational institutions, transport, utilities, etc.)), adults over 60 years old. These categories of persons are vaccinated free of charge, with vaccines supplied to the constituent entities of the Russian Federation at the expense of the federal budget. Vaccination of citizens who are not included in the National Vaccination Schedule is carried out with vaccines purchased at the expense of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, municipalities, organizations and enterprises, or personal funds. Statistical observations have established that immunization of more than 20% of citizens living in the territory of an administrative unit (subject, district, city) creates a collective immunity to influenza and has a significant impact on reducing the incidence in this population of people.
Nonspecific prophylaxis are methods of prophylaxis aimed at increasing the protective (reactive) forces of the body to resist respiratory viruses penetrating into the human body. Non-specific prophylaxis is carried out both in the pre-epidemic period and directly during the epidemic rise in the incidence.
Currently, the pharmaceutical market offers a wide range of drugs for the prevention of influenza and ARVI of domestic and foreign production.Before choosing a drug for prophylaxis, you need to consult a doctor who will prescribe the optimal complex of non-specific prophylaxis for you, taking into account age, somatic diseases.
The main groups of drugs used for prophylaxis: drugs containing interferon, antiviral drugs, vitamin complexes, bacterial lysates.
Do not forget about the long-known folk remedies: taking natural vitamin C in the form of rosehip infusion, cranberries, lingonberries, black currants, citrus fruits.Using natural phytoncides, especially garlic.
Observance of personal hygiene plays an important role in the prevention of respiratory viral infections. It is important to wash your hands more often. Handshake, handrails in public transport, door handles in organizations, public buildings, etc. – all these are sources of increased risk in the transmission of influenza virus, after any contact with the above public places, hands should be washed. Contact with unwashed hands with the face should be avoided.
It is necessary to ventilate the premises more often, carry out wet cleaning of the premises using disinfectants. In organizations and institutions, it is advisable to use equipment that reduces the circulation of viral and bacterial cells in the air (recirculators, bactericidal irradiators, etc.)
Do not forget about the thermal regime: it is important to dress for the weather, to prevent hypothermia of the body, to observe the temperature regime in residential and public buildings.
It is important – rational nutrition, which also affects the body’s resistance: the use of food products containing complete proteins, vitamins of group C (citrus fruits, sauerkraut, rosehip broth, etc.).
During the period of the epidemic spread of morbidity, it is necessary to follow the above recommendations, and also try not to attend mass events, especially in closed rooms, places of mass gathering of the population, use disposable medical masks to protect the respiratory system (use of one mask should not exceed 6 hours, repeated the use of a mask is unacceptable), more often to be in the fresh air.
If you or your loved ones are sick (runny nose, sore throat, fever, general malaise, headache, etc.)you should not visit work, educational institution, send the child to an organized children’s team, you must call a doctor at home. This is especially true during the period of an epidemic rise in the incidence, when long standing in line at clinics can aggravate your condition. In the case of a severe course of the disease, do not refuse the proposed hospitalization, timely started treatment in a hospital will avoid the occurrence of adverse consequences of the disease. When sneezing, coughing, runny nose, use disposable tissue paper.After use, they must be thrown away immediately; they must absolutely not be reused. For the patient, it is necessary to allocate a separate dish, after use, thoroughly wash and disinfect it. It is advisable to isolate the patient in a separate room, limit contacts with healthy family members and carry out non-specific prophylaxis among them. Ventilate living quarters more often, carry out wet cleaning.