Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness. The course of the disease is mostly mild with chills, fever & fatigue being the predominant symptoms. The infection can sometime be serious especially in young children, older persons, pregnant women and people with pre-existing diseases such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

The most common complication of flu is bacterial pneumonia.
The viruses mutate rapidly and there are many different strains, mainly influenza A and influenza B. The disease causes 300 –  600 000 deaths annually.

Be smart and get your flu vaccine!

You may not be at risk directly but someone close to you may be.

Complications of flu

  • Pulmonary
    • Pneumonia (primary influenza, secondary bacterial, and mixed) & bronchitis
    • Exacerbation of
      •  Asthma
      • COPD
      • other underlying lung disease
  • Non-pulmonary
    • Cardiac complications (myocarditis)
    • Encephalopathy
    • Liver and central nervous system (Reye’s Syndrome)
    • Peripheral nervous system (Guillain-Barré syndrome)

History of flu

  • “The mother of all pandemics”
  • The A/H1N1 influenza pandemic: 1918 to 1919
    • first wave early 1918 -> mild illness,
    • second wave later that year was more deadly.
  • Infected 500 million people (1/3 OF GLOBAL POPULATION AT THE TIME)
  • Killed 50 million.life expectancy rates globally dropped by several years, more than over the course of the entire First World War.

Is it flu or is it a cold?

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