Worried about catching flu in the season? The ongoing influenza pandemic has put everyone on its toes and created havoc across the world. This makes it now more than ever to be more aware of the basics of influenza and influenza-like illness.
Read on to know the basics of influenza flu and everything around the influenza epidemic, including the steps to prevent it.
Influenza also is known as flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B virus. The flu season experiences a peak during winters and early spring. To start with, let’s first understand what is the difference between a cold and influenza.
Difference Between A Cold And Flu
Although both common cold and flu are contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract and shows similar symptoms, the intensity and severity of each differ. A cold would make you drag down a bit; however, an influenza flu will shudder you from getting out of the bed, especially with high-risk groups for flu.
The symptoms for the common cold is generally congestion, sore throat, and sneezing. Both flu and cold bring coughing, chest discomfort, and headache. In addition to this, in the case of the flu, one is more likely to develop a high fever for several days apart from having weakness, fatigue, and headache. Moreover, the symptoms of flu start appearing abruptly unlike a cold which is generally triggered by external factors. Another distinction of both is that while complications for cold are minor, the flu can lead to severe health complications such as pneumonia.
Diabetes and Flu: High-Risk Groups for Flu
While anyone can get flu, there are certain high-risk groups for flu who are more prone to get affected. The following groups are more affected by flu:
– Elderly people with 65 years of age and over
– Infants and young children
– Pregnant women
– Lung disease
– Heart disease & Stroke
In fact, anybody with low immunity is also likely to get affected by the flu. Hence, it is essential for such people to follow preventive measures during such influenza pandemic.
In the case of diabetes, even the American Diabetes Association has stated that influenza flu or any viral infection adversely affects people living with diabetes. People with diabetes (both type-1 and Type-2) despite being well managed can draw flu complications. In fact, recent studies have shown 30 per cent of people infected with flu are diabetics. One of the reasons why the body is unable to fight flu is because the body does not have a strong immune system since it is already fighting a prevailing health condition.
What should diabetics and other high-risk groups for flu do?
Although in the case of an influenza pandemic, the government takes strict preventive measures to curb the outbreak and not mismanage the civil order of any place, there are a few points that a diabetic must note:
– Diabetics with Type-2 diabetes must keep extra supplies in hand. If a situation arises where the individual needs immediate attention, it is ideal to keep handy.
– Alternatively, diabetics must continue their consultations with diabetes educators and determine natural ways to manage sugar levels.
– In addition to this, one must maintain good glycemic control in order to reduce the risk and severity of the infection.
– Paying due attention to nutrient-rich foods and proper intake of nutrition is important so that the body does not experience any deficiency in vitamins and minerals.
– Doing exercise regularly can improve immunity, however, in times of an influenza epidemic, it is recommended to stay indoors and avoid gyms/parks.
– Get flu shots and vaccinations to decrease the chances of getting affected and preparing the body with enough antibodies.
Why should Diabetes and Other High-Risk Groups for Flu Take Vaccinations?
Any type of influenza-like illness causes difficulty in managing diabetes. As mentioned above, taking a few steps and taking vaccinations can improve the immune system in fighting infections. Here are a few reasons why one must take proper flu vaccinations yearly:
- The first and foremost step to be taken by high-risk groups for flu is take vaccinations. This will enable the body to protect against influenza and other complications.
- Flu vaccines protect the body from 3 to 4 types of viruses that are most-common.
- Taking a flu vaccination can help in reducing doctor visits, flu illness, and flu-related hospitalizations
- Studies have shown significant improvement in reducing the risk of influenza on children.
- In addition to this, falling sick after getting a vaccination makes the illness milder.
Virus prevention: Care for Diabetes and Other High-Risk Groups for Flu
Any type of flu can be prevented from an outbreak by limiting face-to-face conversations since it is mostly seen to be spread via human-to-human transmission. Therefore, during a flu epidemic, it becomes essential to follow social distancing measures. Here are a few other ways for virus control:
- Avoid contact with persons who show the symptoms of the flu. This could be a high temperature and a new kind of cough.
- Wash your hands regularly, preferably for 20 seconds with soap and water to kill the virus present on your hands. Alternatively, you can use an alcohol-based rub.
- Avoid going out and try to stay indoors. If you are a working professional, it is best to work from home.
- Avoid large crowds and gatherings. In fact, it is best to avoid small public places such as theatres, restaurants, parks, bars, and clubs.
- As an extra safety measure, limit your physical interaction with distant family members and keep in touch using remote technology.
During an influenza pandemic situation, it is important to stay away from fake news and misinformation amongst people and cause distress. Additionally, one must stay alert on the recent government announcements apart from following basic hygiene.