Beating the bug

Flu season is upon us

Weal story Surviving the Flu Season - Picture of student sneezing while reading. (Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

Weal story Surviving the Flu Season – Picture of student sneezing while reading. (Photo by Katerina Kotsaftis/SAIT)

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas or springtime. It’s flu season. Whip out your cold medicine, anti-bacterial gloves and facemask, and let’s get down to it. 

Influenza is a commonly overlooked illness people get in the wintertime, but it can become quite severe to those whom have not fully prepared for the illness.

Symptoms can range from a small cough and runny nose, to pneumonia, heart inflammation and multiple organ failure. 

Although most people tend to get over the flu within a week or so, complications can always arise. 

Third-year nursing student Kiran Maan said the best way to get ahead of the flu is to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

“[People] think they won’t get the flu, but so many have come into the emergency thinking they have some crazy illness when it could’ve been taken care of a couple weeks prior,” said Maan.

“Its always about preparing yourself, no matter what the situation.” 

The vaccine that people receive for the flu is somewhat of a trial run for someone’s body, said Maan. 

The vaccine creates antibodies in your body that recognize the virus and prepare your body for attack when in contact with the flu. 

If you’re exposed to the flu after receiving the shot, your body will know how to react and fight off the virus, thus building immunity to the virus said Maan. 

“It’s as if you were training for the Olympics—you’re putting your body through all this conditioning for one event just to finally win in the end.” 

Along with getting the flu shot for the benefit of your own protection, you’re  doing it for others’ sake too, she said. 

Those with compromised bodies due to an illness, as well as elders and babies, often cannot receive the flu shot.

If the majority of a population has received the flu shot, the likelihood that someone with a compromised body will get the flu is very low she said. This is called herd immunity.

“You’re basically looking out for someone else’s health as well as your own. The shot is for the benefit of everyone.” 

Basic things like covering a cough, washing hands, having a good diet and getting enough exercise are easy ways to become less vulnerable to the flu, if the flu shot is undesirable 

“It all comes down to basic hygiene regimes and common sense to protect yourself from any illness.”

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