flu

Do You Really Need A Flu Shot? Get Informed And Then Decide For Yourself

Every year around Labor Day the commercial begin. “Get your flu shot early this year; don’t wait”. Now we can even get the yearly shot at the grocery store, the drug store, or while browsing at Walmart. No longer do we have to go to the doctor to get the injection and pay the fee for the office visit as well as whatever they charge to get the inoculation. What is all the fuss about? What IS the flu, anyway? And do you really need a shot? Read about the history and then decide for yourself.
Influenza or “the flu” is caused by a virus. It is extremely infectious virus that affects birds and mammals and has a set list of common symptoms:
– Coughing
– Headache
– Chills
– Fever
– Sore throat
– Muscle pain
– Weakness
– Fatigue
– General feeling of malaise
Some of the symptoms can cause serious problems for those in the population which are very young and have no immunities built up or for the elderly and those whose immune systems have been compromised by other illnesses. There are several variations of the flu which have added symptoms such a nausea and vomiting and diarrhea. This type is usually called “the stomach flu” or a 24 hour virus.
No one really knows how the flu is spread but it is assumed that it can be spread through touch, drinking after someone who has the virus, being close to someone with the virus during the “infectious” part of the disease (usually when the person has a fever or the first 48 hours of the virus). Coughing or sneezing also can spread the flu. Using aerosol disinfectants like Lysol can clear the air of the virus.
Disinfectants, soap and water, Clorox, sunlight all seem to destroy or inactivate the virus. This is the basic reason for constantly washing your hands with soap and hot water. Countries that have poor access to basic cleanliness are the ones that suffer the most deaths from the virus. A Pandemic could wipe out an entire country. Every year there are thousands of deaths from the flu virus or a variation of it.
In 2010 there was an outbreak of the mutation of the virus called the Swine Flu or H1N1. Although it was touted as a “new” version of the flu, it was actually a repeat of the virus that swept through the population in the late 1970’s. The scientists have since then said it was a mutation of the original version of the swine flu from the early 1900’s that caused the pandemic of 1918 in which so many people died.
The 1976 outbreak of the swine flu appeared first at a New Jersey Army base when a soldier who felt unwell died after being ill only two or three days. Several of his friends were ill, too. The virus was identified as a mutation of the 1918 flu and its spread continued until, in March, the US government mandated that all persons working in the public domain be inoculated with a swine flu vaccine. There were lots of delays with the vaccine and when it was ready there were deaths as well as lasting damage from the inoculations. A version of this same vaccine was given to the general public in 2009-2010 without the side effects of the previous version. This year a new version of the vaccine is available.