Influenza is an infectious disease that affects birds and mammals and is most commonly referred to as the flu. The symptoms of the flu include sore throat, fever, muscle aches, coughing, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, wheezing, dizziness, and gastrointestinal difficulties.The flu can sometimes lead to pneumonia and even death.
Those at the highest risk of complications from the influenza virus include babies, pregnant women and the elderly. However, there are certain strains of the flu that have greatly affected young adults and adults in their prime.
The influenza virus is spread through the air and close personal contact with infected people. It is also possible to contract the flu from bird droppings. The virus can be killed by soap, disinfectants and sunlight. Influenza is seasonally epidemic with about 5 million annual cases globally. 250,000 to 500,000 deaths occur each year from the flu.
The virus easily mutates and has resulted in pandemic episodes throughout history. The epidemic flu strain mutates every year, making it difficult for doctors and health officials to predict which type will affect the masses on any given year. It is strongly advised to become vaccinated against the most likely endemic flu virus annually.
There are three types of flu viruses, but the one that affects humans most commonly is Type A. Type A influenza comes from wild marine birds. Type B influenza comes from other humans and a select few animals, but is not as common as type A. This virus is slower to mutate and we are less likely to be inoculated against this type of flu. Type C influenza infects humans, dogs and pigs and is less common that Type A and B influenza.
The flu has a one day incubation period, which makes it one of the fastest acting viruses that affect people and animals worldwide. Symptoms present themselves within one day and take approximately one week to recover. You are most likely to spread the virus on the second or third day after the infections begins. You are most virulent when the fever is at its highest.
Your Influenza Shot Should Be Administered in a Flu Vaccine Clinic in NYC
The influenza virus is extremely resilient and can live on a contaminated hard or non-porous surface for up to two days. The virus lives for about 5 minutes when it lands on our skin. If the virus is protected by mucus, it can survive for up to 17 days. The avian flu can live for years in ice. If you handle money during the flu season, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water often and avoid those who are ill.
If you plan on traveling, it is very important to get a vaccine against the most common strain of flu for that season. You should get your vaccines a minimum of 2 weeks before you leave New York in order to give them time to become effective. However, it is still a very good idea to be vaccinated even if you don’t have two weeks until your departure date.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.