Flu season is here. With more and more cases of the flu being reported
here in Monterey County and all over the country, it is more important
than ever to get vaccinated. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead
to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different,
and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people
can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others.
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused
by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can
lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes
on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common
in children than adults.
* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
The Flu Is Contagious
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day
before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days
after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms
start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body.
That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before
you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms.
During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.
Can a flu shot give you the flu?
No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered
with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either
with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been 'inactivated' and are
therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which
is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects
from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling
where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also