It is a myth that influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a mere indisposition and not that serious. The truth is that the flu is actually a relentless and possibly life-threatening disease which kills hundreds of thousands of people worldwide every year.
It is also incorrect to believe that the virus is a natural occurrence and that almost everyone should expect to contract the ailment every year.
A cold vs. the flu
Most people are not aware of the distinct difference between a cold and the flu. The flu is caused by different virus types in contrast to a cold. Flu symptoms are usually more intense and sudden, with more serious complications like pneumonia, inflammation of heart and other bacterial infections.
On the other hand, a cold is a milder respiratory illness that tends to take a much lengthier period to kick in and is usually associated with a sore throat and runny nose.
Each year a seasonal flu vaccine is developed and made available in South Africa to protect individuals against the most common strains of this extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses.
As such, getting a seasonal flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against the flu viruses going around each year. Head to your doctor early on in the season – as soon as the vaccine becomes available and get yourself vaccinated.
Although the vaccine is not 100% effective, if you are healthy person generally, the flu vaccine can lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms. It is also important to note that you can vaccinate against influenza but not the common cold, so a person can still experience a cold following a flu shot.
South Africans can also take some basic preventative steps to protect themselves from coming down with the flu bug. Follow these tips to safeguard oneself against the dreaded colds and flu:
By practicing the above mentioned tips you can reduce and possibly completely skip the cold and flu season emerging on the other end with very little battle wounds. Avoiding germs and ensuring your immune system is strong and functioning are vital during season changes.