The seasonal flu, also known as influenza, is a highly infectious illness of the upper respiratory tract caused by the flu virus. The flu affects people of all ages and usually occurs during the winter months, which is why it is called the seasonal flu. For many, the flu is an unpleasant experience but not a life-threatening illness. However, there are some groups that are more at risk of developing serious and sometimes life-threatening infections than others. The groups that are most at risk are people over the age of 65, anyone with a long-term medical condition and the immunocompromised.
What are the symptoms?
The seasonal flu initially infects your lungs and upper airways which causes a rise in temperature and a combination of chills and sweats. Other symptoms may include aching muscles, headaches, and a persistent cough. You may also feel nauseous, lose your appetite and have difficulty sleeping. These symptoms usually peak after two to three days but you should start feeling better after five to eight days.
What is the flu vaccine and how does it work?
Each year, there’s several different strain variations of the flu virus in circulation. A new flu vaccine needs to be given every year as the type of flu virus in circulation can change each year. The flu vaccine works by helping your immune system to produce antibodies to fight the influenza virus. If you are vaccinated and come into contact with someone who has the virus, the antibodies you have produced will attack the virus thus helping to prevent infection. If you are at risk, it is important to get the vaccination every year, as the influenza strain can differ from year to year.
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