Influenza, known more commonly as the "flu," is a contagious respiratory illness. Caused by influenza A or B viruses, the flu appears most frequently in the winter and spring, and attacks the respiratory tract. If you are interested in receiving the flu vaccine to reduce the risk of contracting it, do not hesitate to call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Martinez at People’s Care Health Systems in Riverside, California. You may also use the booking tool here on the website to schedule an appointment.
The flu is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system (e.g. the nose, throat, and lungs), but presents itself at first as a common cold. It's likely you will feel low-energy, with a runny nose and sore throat. However, if you feel these symptoms and they are paired with a fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, severely aching muscles, chills and sweats, or a dry, persistent cough, you have likely come down with the flu.
When you come down with a cold, you likely experience a sore throat, coughing, headache, and perhaps some accompanying chest discomfort. It is unlikely that a cold will also produce a fever, which is one of the tell-tale signs that you've contracted the flu. With the flu virus, you'll experience body aches, extreme fatigue, and body weakness. You may also experience discomfort and have trouble sleeping due to these common symptoms. With a common cold, your symptoms may appear more gradually. Sneezing, stuffy, and runny noses are all common, milder symptoms of a cold.
The flu is highly contagious and normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. It's also possible to get the flu by coming into contact with an infected person. And because the flu can incubate for up to 7 days before you begin showing symptoms, the flu virus is easily spread long before it's known.
The best way to prevent the flu is by receiving the vaccine every year. A flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body, providing protection against infection with the viruses contained within the vaccine.
Every year’s flu is different, though, and the seasonal vaccine protects against the flu viruses that research has indicated are 'most common' that year. There are various types of vaccines available that prevent against the flu. For example, in the 2017-2018 season, trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) were the available flu vaccines. People 6 months of age and older should receive the vaccine every season, including pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions.
To learn more about the flu, protecting against it, and if you should receive the vaccine, contact Dr. Michele Martinez and schedule an appointment.