GBU Mountain News XLII Jan 13, 2014.pdf
GBU Mountain News
January 13, 2014 XLII
are responsible for the yearly flu epidemics, and the type
C flu virus causes sporadic mild illness. Type A flu virus
is further divided into different subtypes based on its
chemical structure. Type B flu virus has no subtypes.
Type A flu viruses are found in many different animals,
including ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses, and
seals. Influenza B viruses on the other hand circulate
only among humans.
The flu is a highly contagious disease meaning it spreads
very easily from human to human. The virus is spread
o you inhale infected droplets in the air (caused by the
coughing or sneezing of an infected person coughs or
o you come in direct contact with an infected person's
secretions (by kissing, touching, sharing objects such
as spoons and forks).
o your hands touch smooth surfaces such as
doorknobs, handles, television remotes, computer
keyboards, and telephones that have previously been
touched by an infected person. When your hands
then touch your own nose, eyes, or mouth, the flu
virus gets absorbed into your body.
The spread of the virus can also happen when people
(particularly children) share pencils at school, play
computer games and share the remotes, or share utensils.
A person is contagious (meaning able to infect others) for
up to seven days after the first symptoms of the flu show,
but a person might transmit the flu virus a full day before
flu symptoms even begin.
Subsequently, the main reason for catching a flu (or a
cold) virus is "other" people. The following places are
the most critical places, a.k.a. the most germiest:
o Public restrooms: Bacteria and viruses thrive in a
moist place, such as sinks, soap dispensers, and toilet
o Your child's school or day care: many kids together
create lots of opportunities for germs to spread;
o Public transportation: "The closer you are packed
together with other people, the more likely you are to
spread germs to one another," subways, buses, trains,
and airplanes are likely spots to pick up germs.
o Health care providers and facilities: Some, if not
many, people in the waiting room may have a cold or
o Other public places: "Places like malls, food courts,
libraries, museums, sporting events, and concerts --
anywhere big crowds of people gather -- are prime
sources of germs”, any place where many people are
pushed together in the limited space.
Flu outbreaks occur more frequently in the winter
months, because flu viruses survive for longer periods
indoors since the relative humidity of indoor air is very
low in comparison to the outside air. Also, during the
cold winter times humans tend to be indoors more and
thus have closer contact with each other in winter,
allowing for the flu virus to spread easily.
To prevent the flu, you
need to keep your hands
clean by washing them
frequently and you need
to get a flu shot. The
Control and Prevention
(CDC) develops every
year a flu vaccine based
on the type A strain that
is believed to be the most
prevalent in the coming
flu season. This is the
vaccine you will get with
the annual flu shot or via
FluMist nasal spray. The
CDC recommends that all
people ages 6 months and
older receive the flu vaccine to protect them against flu.
Pregnant women and caregivers of children younger than
6 months or children with certain health conditions
should be vaccinated. According to the CDC, the Flu is
more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women
than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the
immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make
pregnant women more vulnerable, leading to
hospitalization or even death. A pregnant woman with
the flu also has a greater chance of serious problems for
her unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.
The main influenza symptoms include a high fever, chills
and shakes, body aches, sore throat, headaches and a dry
The best way to treat flu symptoms are plenty of rest and
plenty of liquids.
Over-the-counter medications to treat flu symptoms
include acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower fever and
reduce aches. Do NOT give aspirin to children or
teenagers. Aspirin may increase risk of Reye's syndrome,
a rare disorder that can cause severe liver and brain
damage. Over-the-counter cough and cold medicines