FLU – INFLUENZA
WHAT IS THE FLU (INFLUENZA) ?
The flu, or influenza, is a contagious viral respiratory disease. It can be caused by different viruses. It is usually transmitted from human to human through coughing and sneezing. But it is also possible to be infected through contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by sick people.
The symptoms of the flu include a fever (though it is good to know that some infected persons don’t have a fever), chills, cough, throat soreness, runny or stuffy nose, muscular pain, body aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are frequent among the children who are infected with the flu. Young children and elderly persons, as well as the people who are suffering from chronic diseases and who have a weak immune system, face a high risk of serious complications if they are infected with the flu. They may be victim of severe pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections or dehydration, which can lead to death.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR THE FLU ?
The flu is common all over the world. In the Northern hemisphere, the peak season for the flu occurs from November to May, while in the Southern hemisphere, it is from April to September. In tropical countries, the flu is present all year round. The people traveling to a temperate country during the peak season of the flu, or to a tropical country at any time of the year, are at risk for the disease.
Young children under the age of 2 years old, pregnant women, elderly persons above 65 years old, American Indians and Alaskan Natives are particularly vulnerable to the flu, as well as the people affected by chronic pulmonary and cardiac diseases.
HOW TO PREVENT THE FLU ?
The best way to avoid being infected with the flu is to get vaccinated. It is necessary to get a new dose of vaccine every year. All the persons above the age of 6 years old should get vaccinated against the flu, whether they are traveling or staying in their own country. If you don’t like injections, it is possible to be administrated the flu vaccine through a nasal spray. Note that if you intend to travel, you must receive the flu vaccine at least two weeks before your departure.
While traveling, avoid contact with people infected or suspected of being infected with the flu. You should always have good hygiene practices. Frequently wash your hands with soap and clean water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and your nose with a disposable tissue. Throw the tissue in a bin right after use. Never touch your face, especially your eyes, your nose and your mouth, if your hands are not clean. Regularly clean and disinfect the surfaces and the objects which may be contaminated with the flu virus.
IN CASE OF INFECTION WITH THE FLU :
If you feel sick and you think that you may be infected with the flu, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Remain isolated to avoid the spread of the disease and take antiviral drugs. These medicines are different form antibiotics. They are effective as soon as you start to take them and they help to prevent severe complications. It is best to start a treatment against the flu within the two first days of infection, but even taken later, these drugs are still helpful. Note that you need a medical prescription to purchase them.
We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, it is impossible for us to make changes on a daily basis.
For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.