In order to avoid flu, you must first protect yourself from the misconceptions of this contagious viral infection, which in humans every day in the cold months deprives people not only of their ability to work but also to life. Uga Dumpis, Chief Specialist for Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Health, explains the most common myths about the flu.
Myth # 1 "In order not to be infected with flu, strong immunity is sufficient"
"Most people are susceptible to influenza viruses, regardless of how strong or weak their general immunity is. It is important to have particular immunity to the affected influenza virus after the influenza has been removed or after vaccination. If a person is experiencing a new type of influenza virus, there is the great risk of developing a disease. Years when a whole new influenza virus, still called pandemic, seems to affect more people, says Dumpis.
"If you think – I'm not ill with the flu, because I'm taking vitamins and an athlete, he should know – it's not working." Deaths or non-immature diseases are more affected by specific immunity and human genetic properties, and the risk of disease is increased by stress, fatigue, indigestion, unbalanced diet, overheating and cooling. In turn, the severity of the flu is determined by several factors, including the body's response.
"There are cases where the organism is" too active "due to the strong immunity to respond to influenza viruses and the inflammatory processes give more pronounced symptoms of the flu, which means that the disease is more difficult. But usually in these cases, thanks to the strong immunity, heals the patient successfully, explains Dumpis.
Myth # 2 "Influenza vaccine can be harmful to health"
Such a statement has no evidence and can not be scientifically substantiated; on the contrary, studies have proven to be a reliable and effective vaccine. Vaccination can cause transient reactions – fever, swelling and pain in the site that lasts up to two days.
Consequently, the convincing way can be said that the vaccine is the safest way to prevent the spread of influenza. "It pays off both by comparing the price of the vaccine with treatment costs and taking into account other personal financial losses associated with the disease, such as the use of a sick leave page. Every year, people in Latvia die to protect the vaccine," says Dumpis.
Myth # 3 "Pregnant flu vaccine is particularly dangerous"
Quite the opposite! Pregnant women are at high risk, and vaccination is recommended especially for them, and the state compensates for the cost of purchasing an influenza vaccine by 50% for pregnant women.
"Influenza is particularly dangerous for pregnant women due to the high temperature affecting the fetus, which affects the development of the fetus and endangers pregnancy. It has been shown that pregnant women can be vaccinated during pregnancy and this does not adversely affect the newborns.
On the contrary, the child takes the necessary proteins from the vaccinated mother. Doctors who have been treated with a influenza-infected pregnant woman's reanimation department would never want to regain such cases in their practice. It's terrible if a pregnant woman needs a caesarean section because of the flu because of a reanimation! "Says dumping of influenza-induced effects.
Myth # 4 "It's not meaningful to get vaccinated, because it's not known what a flu virus will be this year"
Influenza viruses are very variable. Therefore, each year as a preparation for the new flu season is examined which virus variants were the most common in the previous season in different regions of the world and what changes have occurred in the structure of these viruses. Depending on this, the World Health Organization makes recommendations for the vaccine composition for the following season for the respective northern and southern hemispheres.
Sometimes a person vaccinated against flu may still be infected with the flu, especially if it is an elderly person or a person with reduced immunity.
Despite the fact that influenza vaccines can not protect themselves from diseases, the need for hospitalization for a patient, with influenza-related complications and death, is reduced, and this is the most effective preventive measure.
Myth No. 5 "Influenza can only be infected once a year"
People are more likely to be infected with the most common influenza virus or dominant in the current period and territory. After the flu, a person becomes immune to the relevant influenza virus. Given that the flu season lasts from November to May and during the season, a number of different influenza viruses are spread, there may be a recurring flu, especially for an unvaccinated person, as the vaccinated person is protected from at least three or four of the most common influenza viruses.
Influenza epidemics usually start in the second half of January when children return to schools in places where they "switch viruses" after the holidays, and the infection spreads quickly to other populations.
Myth # 6 "A person becomes infectious after having first shown flu symptoms"
No – A flu-infected person spreads the virus one day before he starts to feel signs of the disease – fever, bone loss, dry cough, neck pain, weakness and loss of appetite. It should be remembered that the infection is also distributed to seemingly healthy people or those with mild symptoms as they continue to participate in educational institutions, work and other public places.
The virus spreads in the form of small drops, infected squealen, cough, and even talking, or by contacting – shaking or stirring household items. Infection can be very easy, for example by touching the door handle and then rubbing your nose or mouth with your unclean hands. When it reaches the respiratory tract, the virus breaks up quickly, and after a few days or even several hours, a person suddenly feels sick. In order to reduce the spread of infection, it is often necessary to wash hands, clean rooms and, as far as possible, avoid visiting public places, especially during the flu epidemic.
The material was drafted by the Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control in the public awareness campaign "Do not let the flu catch yourself!". The campaign's goal is to encourage influenza vaccination of the population and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, especially in those populations at high risk for flu-like complications.