What is the Flu?
The flu, or “influenza” is a contagious viral illness easily transmitted through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks, or indirectly through contact with contaminated surfaces.
There are three main types of influenza viruses – Type A, Type B and Type C, with Types A and B being the common ones responsible for flu outbreaks.
Common symptoms of influenza include sore throat, runny nose, cough, fever, body aches and headaches.
Complications from Influenza
Severe complications can sometimes occur with susceptible individuals. These complications include ear infection, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and meningitis, which could be potentially fatal.
Groups at risk of developing complications are:
- Older persons aged 65 years and above
- Young children between 6 months and 5 years of age
- Pregnant women
- Those with weakened immune systems eg due to medications or HIV
- Persons with underlying chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease, kidney or liver disease
- Those on long term aspirin therapy