The Flu: It’s aliiive!

October isn’t just about picking out your new Halloween costume. During this season, many people are also picking out where to get their flu shots. It’s a nasty virus to pick up. It may include chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, congestion in the nose, and a sore throat often accompanied by a cough. The flu can be a student’s worst nightmare because you definitely can’t show up to class with these symptoms.

Flu is argued by most to be a virus that evolves again and again. That’s why people are told to get a vaccination every year. Various strains of the flu are capable of infecting a host. Using hosts’ cells, the virus multiplies into something more deadly. Although the flu is often taken lightly, it has caused massive panic more than once.

Is the flu making you feel like a zombie? Graphic from OK Wassup!
Is the flu making you feel like a zombie? Graphic from OK Wassup!

In 2009 the United States was scrambling to get the H1N1 — otherwise known as the swine flu —  strain under control. In Mexico, the flu virus had gone from pig hosts to humans, becoming something new. According to the CDC’s official website, H1N1 that year was responsible for 98% of the flu viruses recorded.

Each year, the virus does not lie dormant and rise again as the same thing. It evolves and becomes stronger. Each flu season the CDC works with doctors to try and predict which vaccines will be the most effective for the upcoming flu season and update them as the season progresses. At times, the predictions are correct and sometimes they are wrong. However, the vaccine is developed during the flu season for prevention.

The flu is also highly contagious and can spread in several ways. Experts believe that the way to get the flu can be through a cough or sneeze. Even talking can help spread this, which is unfortunate because you are contagious up to one day before your symptoms are even showing on the outside of your body. Bodily fluids from the mouth and nose often infect other people when making physical contact with those that already have flu symptoms. Touching surfaces and then touching your mouth or nose can also cause you to get the virus.

The best way to avoid getting or spreading the flu is to wash your hands, avoid contact with any sick person, and to get your flu shot!