When you have the flu, you can have a headache, fatigue, a blocked nose, a sore throat, a cough and even fever. These symptoms are caused by influenza viruses, which, in turn, cause the contagious respiratory infectious disease known as the flu.
Most people recover from the flu on their own. However, the disease can last longer and be more serious in risk groups, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly or people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or asthma or those who are immunocompromised. Therefore, it is important to take into account certain prevention measures, to help avoid the flu or reduce its symptoms.
Staying home if you are sick or avoiding close contact with people who are sick are a couple of these measures. You should also cover your mouth and nose with a single-use tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw used tissues in the bin. Washing your hands frequently to protect yourself from germs; avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands; and wearing a mask during healthcare visits are other healthy habits recommended to protect yourself and others from the flu.
However, the most effective preventive measure is an annual vaccination. An annual vaccine is recommended for certain people from 6 months of age onwards, as it reduces the risk of contracting the infection in the general population by 40% - 60%. And, if a vaccinated person gets sick, the symptoms will be milder.
This annual vaccine is primarily recommended for people who are at a higher risk of developing complications if infected with the influenza virus and those who are in contact with high-risk people. These are:
- People of 60 years old or older.
- Children over 6 to 59 months of age.
- People who have risk conditions (chronic diseases, immunosuppression, cancer, etc.).
- Pregnant women, in any trimester of pregnancy.
- Children and adolescents from 5 to 18 years of age under prolonged treatment with acetylsalicylic acid.
- Staff from health and social health centers (both health and non-health personnel).
- Children between 6 months and 2 years who were born premature.
- People who can transmit the flu to those who are at high risk of complications, such as their cohabitants and people who provide home care.
- Essential personnel, such as workers in the state security forces, firefighters, civil protection, prison officials, etc.