To avoid the flu, you must first protect yourself from the misconceptions about this contagious virus infection, which in humans every day in the cold months deprives people not only of their ability to work, but even of life. Uga Dumpis, chief infectious disease specialist at the Ministry of Health, explains the most common myths about the flu.
Myth # 1 "Not to get infected with a flu, strong immunity is enough"
"Most people are susceptible to influenza viruses, no matter how strong or weak the general immunity is. It is important to have specific immunity against the influenza virus after the influenza vaccine has been removed or after vaccination. a new type of influenza virus, there is a high risk of developing a disease. Years in which a whole new influenza virus, still called a pandemic, seems to be affecting a lot more people, "says Dumpis.
"If anyone thinks – I will not get sick with the flu, because I take vitamins and a sportsman, so he should know – it does not work." Non-immature deaths or diseases are most affected by specific immunity and human genetic characteristics, and the risk of disease is increased by stress, fatigue, indigestion, unbalanced diet, overheating, and cooling. In turn, the severity of influenza is determined by several factors, including also the body's response.
"There are cases where, because of the strong immunity, the body is" too active "to respond to influenza viruses and inflammatory processes produce more pronounced symptoms of influenza, which means that the disease is more serious. , thanks to the strong immunity, the patient cures successfully ", explains Dumpis.
Myth # 2 "Influenza vaccine can be harmful to health"
Such a claim has no evidence and can not be scientifically proven; rather, studies have proven to be a reliable and effective vaccine. Vaccination can cause transient reactions – fever, swelling and pain at the site of a stitch that lasts up to two days.
Consequently, it can be said convincingly that the vaccine is the safest way to prevent the spread of the flu. "It pays off by comparing the price of the vaccine to treatment costs and taking into account other economic losses associated with the disease, such as the use of a medical license." Every year people in Latvia die who have been able to protect the vaccine, "says Dumpis.
Myth # 3 "The pregnant flu vaccine is particularly dangerous"
Absolutely the opposite! Pregnant women are at high risk, and vaccination is especially recommended for them, and the state offsets the cost of buying a 50% flu vaccine for pregnant women.
"Influenza is particularly dangerous for pregnant women because of the high temperature that affects the fetus, negatively affecting the development of the fetus and jeopardizing the benefits of pregnancy. It has been shown that pregnant women can be vaccinated at any time during pregnancy and this does not adversely affect the newborn.
On the contrary, the baby receives the necessary proteins from the vaccinated mother. Doctors who were treated with a resuscitation department of pregnant women infected with influenza would never again find such cases in their practice. It is terrible if a pregnant woman needs a cesarean because of the flu due to a resuscitation! "Dumpis says of the effects induced by the flu.
Myth # 4 "It does not make sense to get vaccinated because you do not know what a flu virus will be this year"
Influenza viruses are very variable, so each year in preparation for the new flu season we examine which viral variants were most common in the previous season in different regions of the world and what changes occurred in the structure of these viruses. Depending on this, the World Health Organization makes recommendations for the composition of the vaccine for the next season in the northern and southern hemispheres, respectively.
Sometimes a person who has been vaccinated against the flu may still be infected with the flu, especially if it is an elderly person or a person with impaired immunity.
Despite the fact that the flu vaccine may not protect itself from the disease in all cases, it reduces the need for hospitalization for a patient with complications and deaths related to influenza, and this is the most effective preventive measure.
Myth # 5 "Influenza can only be infected once a year"
People are more likely to be infected with the more common or dominant flu virus in the period and territory in question. After the flu shot, a person becomes immune to the relevant influenza virus. Since the flu season lasts from November through May and throughout the season, several flu viruses spread, there may be a recurrence of the flu, especially for an unvaccinated human being because the vaccinated person is protected from at least three or four of the most common influenza viruses.
As a rule, the flu epidemic begins in the second half of January, when children return to schools in places where they "switch viruses" after holidays, and the infection spreads rapidly to other populations.
Myth # 6 "A person becomes infectious after first presenting flu symptoms"
No – a person infected with the flu spreads the virus one day before they begin to feel signs of illness – fever, bone loss, dry cough, neck pain, weakness and loss of appetite. It should be remembered that the infection is also distributed to apparently healthy people or with easy symptoms because they continue to attend educational institutions, work and other public places.
The virus spreads in the form of small droplets, infected wheezing, coughing and even talking, or by touching – shaking or touching the household utensils. Infection can be very easy, for example by touching the door handle and rubbing the nose or mouth with dirty hands. When it reaches the airways, the virus breaks down 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 much as possible, avoid visiting public places, especially during the flu epidemic.
The material was prepared by the Ministry of Health and the Center for Disease Prevention and Control in the public awareness campaign "Do not let the flu get itself!". The goal of the campaign is to encourage influenza vaccination of the population and raise awareness about the importance of vaccination, especially in those populations that are at high risk for influenza-related complications.