Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the truth about the flu

This is something that I think is VERY important, and something that you all need to know. Because most people do not have the facts right about the flu, and this is a MAJOR problem when it comes to health.

So, what is the flu?

If you are like most people, I bet you think it involves having a sore tummy and puking/diarrhea. Well, guess what. You are WRONG. There is no such thing as a stomach flu, this is a very common misconception (don't worry, almost everyone thinks this), but what you have is a gastro-intestinal problem.

The flu, oh boy, it is BAD. and very dangerous. It is a virus (antibiotics can't do anything) that affects your respitory system - and will knock you out hard for a few days. Trust me, when you have the real flu, you will know it because you will be out of commission for days. You won't even be able to get up from your bed to go to the bathroom because you ache so much.


Lets talk about h1n1, the 2009 strain. Most of you probably thought it wasn't a huge deal - because there was all this talk about HOW bad it was going to be - and it turned out to be "nothing". I hope you realize this has EVERYTHING to do with public health and the preventative measures they took. Millions of pigs and chickens were slaughtered in hopes to stop the spread, flights were banned between certain areas, and vaccinations were made very quickly.

Do you realize how big of a problem h1n1 could have been? We literally prevented a pandemic from happening. Lets flash back to 1918, where a flu, called the Spanish Flu, took over the world. 20 to 40 million people died. DIED. The people in the USA who died from the Spanish flu outnumber the amount of people who died in WWI and WWII. And not to mention, half of the world's population was infected.

Fun fact about the Spanish flu, it was H1N1.

Get your flu shots people. Every year. It is not good enough to get it once, because there is something called antigenic shift that happens - that mutates the flu virus, so it is impossible to have one vaccination that will work for years. Scientists work hard to determine the H & N of a flu, the inner contents and make a vaccine. The best part of vaccines? They will always work against the strains that they are fighting against.

Each year, scientists work extremely hard to find the flu viruses that have the potential to be most harmful, and make a vaccine for that year. People often say that a flu shot makes them sick, but that is BUNK. It may make you nauseous, but that is completely unrelated to the FLU itself - and trust me, a little nausea is better than the flu.

I got H1N1 back in 2009, after crossing Michigan and Ohio and almost all of Ontario to follow the Jonas Brothers and attending 3 concerts in 4 days. I was in very close contact with many people, and viruses spread very easy. Trust me, it was horrifying. 4 or 5 days of my life are completely GONE, because I spent them half passed out on a couch, coughing my lungs out, and not peeing. I seriously thought I was going to die, each time I coughed it felt like someone was literally scratching my lungs. I felt weak. I was in so much pain, it was just unreal.

And that isn't just H1N1, H1N1 is no worse than the other types of flu there are. The reason H1N1 got so much attention was because it had the potential to be a pandemic. Instead of the normal antigenic drift that takes place in a virus, antigenic SHIFT was going on. This means that full viruses were changing, and could be spread from pigs to humans to birds, etc. And it keeps changing, and whole new strains of H1N1 kept being made.

And the other thing with pandemic flu that is a huge misconception. It isn't the children and elderly who are most likely to die. It is us. The 18-50 year old people. We are at the greatest risk for death.

Protect yourselves.

I literally cannot understand how you could make the conscious decision to NOT get the flu shot. You would never refuse to get your mumps shot, or hep A or B or C or whatever. The flu is more common and spreads easier and is deadly.

The flu isn't just a tummy ache. It actually isn't a tummy ache at all.

Learn your facts.

1 comment:

  1. I am so appreciative of the information you have provided. I truly hope that people who check your blog realize how you are on the mark. I consulted with a physician whose basic comment was - when a vaccine is available - why would you not take advantage of it. Bless you for providing such accurate information to people Miss Just Another Kelsey.