Why the Flu is Such a Big Deal

By Rachel Dranetz on February 13, 2018

Even though the flu is on the rise, it’s dangerously easy to forget about the possibility of contracting it in the hustle and bustle of everyday routine. With school, jobs, extra-curriculars, and whatever else people have going on in their day to day lives, staying healthy and taking precautions simply drops on the list of priorities.

But this year, the flu really is just terrible. Like people are dying level of really, really terrible.

There have been over 60 flu-related deaths in 2018. The level of visits to hospitals and emergency rooms is greater than that during the peak of the swine flu outbreak in 2009. “This flu season is the worst in nearly a decade — and it’s not getting better.”

And it’s not just young children and the elderly who are at risk. The flu has been shown to weaken immune systems and make healthy people more vulnerable to pneumonia and other illnesses, increase the risk of heart attacks, and cause infection in the lungs that can lead to sepsis. (2)

The flu is the kind of sickness you automatically know you have. You can be feeling perfectly fine when you wake up, maybe having a little cough but other than that you’re seemingly healthy, but by lunch, you feel a bit like you’re dying. Headache, fever, nausea, cough, congestion, fatigue, body ache; and you feel too sick to get out of bed, let alone attend class or go to work.

In addition, the flu is extremely contagious. Even if you force yourself to attend to your responsibilities, (and guaranteed it will be dreadful), there’s a high chance that you can infect everyone you come into contact with. Whatever level of the sickness you have, it’s basically a lose-lose situation.

 As far as treating the flu goes, the flu is a virus- meaning there is no full-proof cure. Unlike bacterial disease where bacteria can be killed by antibacterials, the virus is impossible to fully kill. The most common treatment is Tamiflu, which is a prescription drug that can treat the flu in it’s earliest stages. It only really helps within the first 2 days of illness, so people that put off going to the doctor until the last minute won’t be able to use it. Other antivirals work to make sure your flu doesn’t get exponentially worse, and over the counter medicines can be used to help symptoms and reduce fever, but really the only cure is to ride it out.

The best way you can avoid the flu, is really just to stay healthy and get the flu vaccination early. So even if it’s at the back of your to-do list, do be sure to stay vigilant in not contracting the flu virus. The extra effort of washing your hands is totally worth not spending the next 7-10 days in misery.

pexel.com

Helpful sources:

1. USA Today: “This flu is the worst in nearly a decade – and it’s not getting better”

2. USA Today: “Why are people outside high-risk groups dying from the flu?”

3. CNN: “Flu still on the rise, hospitalizations high, CDC says”

4. WLWT5: “How the flu becomes deadly”

5. USA Today: “Got the flu? Here’s what works to lessen the misery’

Rachel is an English (Editing, Writing, and Media) major doubling in Classical Civ. After she gets her degrees, she aspires to work mher way into editing and publishing, so that she can help bring new books into the world.

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