Increasing Flu Cases – A Public Health Risk

Increasing Flu Cases – A Public Health Risk

As cold weather sets in, there are several respiratory illnesses to be aware of. If you have underlying health concerns, ensuring you are protected from the flu can effectively reduce the risk of requiring emergency care. Read on to learn more about how increasing flu cases can be a public health risk.

The Flu Season

This time of year, usually marks the beginning of the flu season. The flu is a common illness that causes mild and treatable symptoms. However, it can also cause severe illness that could lead to hospitalisation, as it can be fatal if left untreated.

If you have underlying health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease or tuberculosis (TB), you might be at a higher risk of being infected with the flu virus. Most importantly, your chances of severe complications might increase if you don’t seek immediate medical attention.

Research suggests that getting a flu vaccine, a safe and reliable way to prevent the flu, might improve your immune system’s ability to defend against the spread of the infectious virus. The vaccine works by stimulating your body’s immune response to the flu virus, helping protect you from getting sick or reducing the severity of your illness if you get the flu.

Flu Symptoms and Complications

Flu symptoms range from mild to severe, coming suddenly from the point of contact with the virus. It’s important to note that you might not have all the symptoms showing simultaneously. In most cases, these are the signs to be aware of:

  • A sore throat.
  • Persistent coughing.
  • Feeling congested in your throat and nose.
  • A runny or stuffy nose.
  • Muscle and body aches.
  • Fatigue and a headache.
  • Fever or feeling chills.

In most cases, you can recover from the flu within two weeks when you take your treatment as prescribed by a medical professional. However, there are instances when you’re at risk of developing complications that can be life-threatening. Pneumonia is a common health condition that can be fatal if left untreated.

Other life-threatening flu complications that might occur include:

  • Inflammation of the heart.
  • Multi-organ failure.
  • Inflamed muscle tissues.
  • An infection that leads to sepsis.
  • Worsening of chronic conditions like asthma.

Is it Flu or COVID-19?

COVID-19 has become a well-known virus that leads to contagious respiratory illness. Unlike the flu, research suggests that it spreads more easily and rapidly. Additionally, it’s a more severe illness that leads to more complications and fatalities. Even though there are vaccines to reduce the risk of COVID-19, it can take longer to show symptoms, and you might be contagious for longer if you’re infected.

It’s important to note that the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be similar, and it might be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone. Specific tests are available to detect the flu and COVID-19 to confirm a more accurate diagnosis. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as a high fever, severe cough, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately, as these could be signs of COVID-19.

Who’s at Higher Risk of Flu Complications?

Anyone can get infected with the flu, and severe symptoms can also appear in healthy people of any age. However, some people are at a higher risk of flu-related health complications when they fall ill. By sending an alert from your FREE-to-use iER app, you get access to immediate emergency medical care which can help you avoid a life-threatening situation if you are:

  • Older than 65.
  • Have a chronic health condition.
  • Pregnant or two weeks postpartum.
  • Between six months and two years old.

Preventing and Treating the Flu

When flu symptoms are mild, they can be treated at home with prescribed medications, plenty of rest, and adequate hydration. However, not everyone can rely on over-the-counter treatment options, and it’s important to seek medical attention before using anything. The flu vaccine remains the most effective way to prevent the flu.

By getting vaccinated, you protect yourself and contribute to the collective effort to reduce the spread of the virus. You should also practice healthy habits to improve your health. The FREE-to-use iER App is your trusted emergency response provider, providing you access to 24/7 medical services if your flu symptoms become severe.

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