Influenza vaccination

Ear Nose | Allergy & Immunology | Influenza vaccination (Disease)


Flu season is an annually-recurring time period characterized by the prevalence of outbreaks of influenza (flu). The season occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere. Influenza activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

Causes and Risk factors

The flu is highly infectious and is a serious viral respiratory infection. Whereas with other viral respiratory infections the symptoms usually are mild and most people can continue working or going to school while ill, with the flu, the symptoms are severe and prolonged and cause individuals to miss days of work or school.

The infection stresses the body. In addition, superinfections may occur. Superinfections are bacterial infections that occur on top of a respiratory infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A nasopharyngeal swab to detect the viral antigen will be done. A chest X-ray may be done to rule out pneumonia.

Rest and medications to reverse the fever such as acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen are given to reduce the symptoms. Patients are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids. Antiviral medications can be given but should be started within 40 hours of symptoms.

These medications can also be given to prevent the disease after an exposure (prophylaxis). Yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in protecting against the flu viruses. ...

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