Winter flu is a contagious respiratory infection that is caused by the influenza virus. While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses are detected throughout the year, it is much more common during the winters.
The virus survives better in colder climates and during winters it tends to live longer indoors as the air inside is less humid than outside.
Flu can cause mild to moderate illness and at times can even cause life-threatening complications. It can infect your nose, throat and sometimes, the infection can spread to the lungs as well.
Here are some essential facts that you should know about winter flu.
10 Essential Facts About Winter Flu
1. Winter flu is different from the common cold and usually presents symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue.
2. Winter flu is more common in young children who are under the age of 5 and in adults who are above the age of 65. Those who have a weakened immune system may also easily catch the flu and can also develop complications.
3. The influenza virus spreads through air droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. It can also spread through contaminated surfaces or by sharing personal items with an infected person.
4. People with the virus are likely to be contagious about a day before the symptoms appear until about the next five days.
5. The infection usually subsides by itself with proper rest and plenty of fluids.
However, if you develop emergency signs such as shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, muscle pain or severe weakness, make sure to consult your doctor.
6. Flu is treated with the help of antiviral medications. They help in relieving the symptoms and preventing complications.
7. Children and adults who are at high risk may develop certain complications from winter flu such as pneumonia (lung infection), bronchitis (inflammation in the lining of the tubes that carry air to the lungs), asthma flare-ups and even heart diseases.
8. The best way to prevent flu is to get the flu vaccine each year. It is also known as the influenza vaccine or a flu shot and it provides moderate to high protection against the virus.
9. Avoiding close contact with infected people, washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face constantly and regularly cleaning and disinfecting high touched surfaces at home are a few other measures to prevent the infection.
10. As influenza viruses change regularly and new strains appear, new versions of vaccines are developed twice a year. It is important to get the right vaccine shot developed for that year.
To play your part in curbing the spread of the infection, make sure you stay at home if infected and avoid being around people until you feel better. In case of any emergency, make sure you wear a mask while getting out.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Practice Good Health Habits. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm> [Accessed 16 November 2021].
2. nhs.uk. 2021. Flu. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/> [Accessed 16 November 2021].
Disclaimer: This article is written by Practo for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.