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Seasonal flu shots given in Boston Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Different occasions present the opportunity to learn and practice new things. As the holiday season starts, you have the opportunity to protect yourself from seasonal flu. That is where the National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) comes in. Having been formed in 2015 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NIVW runs in early December annually.

For 2017, the NIVW will run from December 3 to 9th. As you prepare to take part in the vaccination, this is a good time to learn a thing about influenza.

What Is Influenza

The seasonal flu is caused by different influenza viruses. Being a respiratory illness, flu affects your nose, throat, and can spread to the lungs. The viruses can cause severe illness or lead to death hence the reason for getting a flu vaccine yearly.

Influenza is contagious and spreads mainly through droplets from sneezes and coughs from infected people. You will get the flu if the droplets land in your nose or mouth. In few instances, seasonal flu can spread when a person touches a surface that has the influenza viruses and proceeds to touch the nose, eyes, or mouth.

As you might have already noted, the certain way to avoid getting flu is through getting the vaccine. Being influenza free also means minimizing its spread to the people around you. However, if you are yet to get the vaccine, you can minimize the chances of spreading the flu by always closing your mouth when coughing and sneezing. This measure is important as you might be infected without knowing since the symptoms manifest after several days.

Symptoms and Signs You Have Influenza

As mentioned, you might have already caught the flu virus and spreading it without knowing. In that case, you need to remain keen and look out for signs that show you might have flu, especially during the holiday season.

Here are the common symptoms of flu in which case they start suddenly.

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Feeling feverish
  • Headaches
  • Stuffy or a runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting in children

Why Vaccination Is Important

Seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the symptoms listed. Delayed medication or vaccination can open the window for flu complications especially in people at high risk. People at high risk of flu complication include:

  • Pregnant women
  • People aged over 65
  • Individuals with chronic health conditions like heart or lung disease, asthma, and diabetes

The serious complications associated with flu include sinus infections, ear infections, bacterial pneumonia, and the worsening of chronic medical conditions like asthma and congestive heart failure.

An injection into the deltoid muscle, especially on the right hand, is how the flu vaccine is administered. Always have a qualified medical practitioner perform the vaccination to ensure the injection is in the right muscle. The vaccine in the injection syringe trigger antibodies to develop in the body. Afterward, the antibodies will prevent infection from flu viruses.

With the NIVW around the corner, it is a great opportunity to get the vaccine shot. Getting vaccinated even after falling sick with influenza is beneficial as the vaccine can still protect you from other influenza viruses.

The CDC’s agenda in creating the National Influenza Vaccination Week was to inform people the importance of flu vaccination through the holiday season. Your contribution to the same campaign can be in tagging your family members and friends when going to get the vaccine shot. In doing so, you would have minimized the spread of flu among the people around you hence get the chance to enjoy your holiday in peace.