This flu season, there are specific characteristics of seasonal influenza with which you ought to familiarize yourself. By knowing what the characteristics of seasonal influenza are, you can recognize it as it strikes and hopefully treat it and thereby reduce the duration of your seasonal influenza. It is estimated that about 15% of people in the United States get seasonal influenza each year and understanding these characteristics of seasonal influenza can help you to be one of the ones that gets through it with shining colors.
It is important first to understand what the symptoms that are characteristic of seasonal influenza might be. Some of the characteristic symptoms of seasonal influenza can include things like dry cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, muscle aches, extreme tiredness, fever, sore throat, and headache. You are likely to first see those characteristics of seasonal influenza appear about one to four days after you are originally exposed to the virus. Generally speaking, these symptoms will start right around two days after you are exposed to the virus.
The characteristic symptoms of seasonal influenza generally start suddenly. They don’t come about gradually in the same way that they do with a cold. The characteristics of seasonal influenza in children can include gastrointestinal symptoms including things like nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping. In addition, it is not uncommon for children to develop ear infections or sinus problems due to seasonal influenza.
It is also important to understand how seasonal influenza spreads. One of the characteristics of seasonal influenza is that it spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets. Generally speaking, you are likely to be exposed to respiratory droplets when someone coughs on you or sneezes in your direction. In addition, it can spread through contaminated objects including things like telephones, doorknobs, light switches, faucets and drinking fountains. In fact, you can actually spread the flu a full day before you develop any symptoms. And you are likely to be contagious for around five days after you first do start to develop the symptoms of seasonal influenza.
Another characteristic of seasonal influenza is who it tends to strike. While everyone is at risk for seasonal influenza, some people are more likely to get very seriously ill or to have complications because of it. Adults over the age of 65 and children between the ages 6 months and 2 years old are especially likely to see complications from seasonal influenza. People in these categories might get pneumonia, dehydration, or the flu might actually exacerbate an existing chronic medical condition.
If you believe you fall into one of these at risk categories for seasonal influenza, you might consider getting the seasonal influenza vaccine. While the vaccine doesn’t protect you from every particular strain of influenza, it can help to protect you from some of the most common types and can also help to reduce the overall spread and keep you from spreading it to someone who is at risk.