Is there such a thing as seasonal flu?

dr-hemaEven as the winter sets in, seasonal flu has set in causing many to stay off schools and work. The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus infecting the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis, hospitalization, or in some cases even death. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and this puts the healthiest of people in bed for days. Although we cannot call it a seasonal flu since the respiratory infections stay constant throughout the year, the levels of contagion does slightly increase during the colder seasons so the colder weather proves friendlier to the cold and flu viruses in the air. This is the main reason why it seems like most people catch a cold during the seasonal shift from hot to cold and back.

Therefore while cold weather can’t make you sick, cold weather can make you more likely to get sick in several ways.

  • Cold, dry air cuts down on the healthy mucus that’s supposed to coat areas of your respiratory system, leaving airways more susceptible to unpleasant microbial visitors.
  • Seasonal boost in allergies can irritate your lungs and nasal passages, making you even more vulnerable to a cold or the flu, and making your symptoms seem even worse if you do get sick.
  • Temperature can’t exactly make us sick. But exposure to colder temperatures might make the body more susceptible to certain illnesses.

Therefore, staying warm will benefit your immune system after all. Keeping your airways moist with a humidifier at night and treating seasonal allergies as they crop up, instead of ignoring them can also help keep your mucus in virus-blocking shape and help cold symptoms feel less debilitating if a virus comes your way. As you spend more time indoors, always keep in mind the hand-washing practices and avoid too much contact with sniffling and coughing co-workers. Consider taking vitamins to keep you in the pink of health.

Children younger than 5 years and adults over 65yrs, pregnant women and those with other medical conditions are at high risk of developing complications. Since February 24 2010 CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends flu shot for every one older than 6 months of age and older every season.

iCARE Multi-specialty Clinics were designed & developed to provide the absolute best in healthcare . Accessible 365 days a year, the friendly, efficient staff at iCARE offer the very best in medical care with particular emphasis on affordability and ethics in healthcare.

Credit –  Dr. Hema Chandrika, General Practitioner, iCARE Multi-Specialty Clinics

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