www.whyville.net Sep 23, 2012 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Achoo: Seasonal Flu

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That's right folks. It's that time of the year again. The consistent signs popping up in local pharmacies and clinics only reassuring the fact that flu season is impending.

As I'm being constantly reminded of multiple facts about the flu as well as its prevention/treatment techniques in my medical class, I felt it only fitting to share some on here.

Today, I'd like to stress the significance of getting a flu shot/vaccine EVERY year. Many people believe that they don't need a flu shot due to the fact that they had one, say three years ago. This idea is not accurate for one major reason: The flu mutates like crazy and flu shots have to be changed annually to accommodate the changes. A flu shot from 3 years ago will not protect you from getting the flu this year.

With this in mind, even after getting a flu shot, you can still be susceptible to getting the flu. This is because during one flu season alone, you can have multiple strains occurring. So, even I'd you get the flu once, it would be a wise idea to still get the shot so you can protect yourself from other strains of it.

Some of you might be wondering, why bother getting flu shots, it's just a flu. It's in our nature to downplay the flu to no more than a horrible version of a cold and missed school/work days. What people don't realize is that the flu hospitalizes 200,000 people and can kill between 3,000-49,000 people a year depending on the severity.

Because of the lack of understanding between the flu and the common cold, the terms are used interchangeably. However, a stark difference between the flu and a cold is the fact that you feel deplorable, and as most people like to describe it, "You feel like you've been hit by a truck."

Another topic I feel necessary to discuss is that healthy people feel no need to get the flu shot because even if they get the flu, it's only a couple of sick days and it's over. What should be kept in mind is that while you may be fine with getting the flu, others around you will not do as well. Take for instance, infants who might be in your environment. They have little to no immunity when it comes to the flu, and they'd be extremely prone to getting it from someone in their presence. For this reason, you should get the flu shot annually if not for yourself, then for the sake of others in your environment.

I hope you can educate those around you about the flu, and that you all have a healthy rest of the year and beyond.

Author's Note: Source: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/top-13-flumyths
Discussions in my medical class


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