health

8 Alarming Flu Facts For Moms To Keep In Mind This Season

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is a writer on the Original Content team. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Now that fall is in full swing, it’s about that time of year when everyone has to start thinking about the dreaded flu season.

As soon as the weather starts getting chillier, people start getting stuffy noses and sore throats, but nothing is quite like getting the flu.

Most of us know we should get ourselves and our family members immunized, but even after getting the flu shot, it’s still possible to get sick.

The flu always seems like it should be no big deal, but it can put even the toughest people out of commission for days on end.

And lying holed up in bed with influenza isn’t fun for anyone. It means you can’t get your work done, can’t do what you want around your house, and can’t take care of your family members like you normally would.

Find out more about influenza and some of the most surprising flu facts below!

Thumbnail Photo: Flickr / Navy Medicine

Fact #1: Influenza Is Very Common

influenza is common
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Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses, explains the US National Library of Medicine.

They also explain that every year in the US, somewhere between 5 and 20% of people get the flu.

Fact #2: You Can Spread Influenza Before You Even Have Symptoms

spreading influenza
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The CDC explains that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick.

Symptoms, which include fever, chills, headaches, fatigue, runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, and muscle aches, may not appear until after you’ve contracted influenza.

People can infect others a day before they start showing symptoms and up to a week after symptoms begin.

Fact #3: The Flu Can Have Some Scary Complications

flu complications
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For most healthy adults, the flu will resolve on its own or with the help of over-the-counter medications.

That said, there can be some frightening complications, including dehydration, sinus infections, ear infections, and bacterial pneumonia.

If you have chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or congestive heart failure, the flu can worsen your symptoms.

Fact #4: Certain People Are At Higher Risk Than Others

influenza higher risk
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The Mayo Clinic explains that some people are at higher risk of contracting influenza than others.

Those who are more likely to get the flu and have complications include young children (under age 5), adults older than 65, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, and people with weakened immune systems.

Fact #5: Flu Shots Only Protect Against Certain Strains

flu strains
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The CDC recommends that people who are old enough should get annual flu vaccines.

Each year, experts pick which flu viruses are most likely to spread and put those specific viruses into the vaccine.

Unfortunately, even with the flu shot, it’s still possible to get the flu (although it’s a lot less likely).

Fact #6: Certain Areas Put People At Higher Risk

higher risk areas
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

If you spend time in certain areas, you may be more likely to get the flu.

Areas that are crowded — like schools, office buildings, nursing homes, and public transportation — can all be hotbeds for influenza.

Fact #7: There Are Only Two Effective Ways To Prevent Flu

prevent flu
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

That’s right, there are just two ways to effectively prevent the flu.

“The main way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine,” explains the US National Library of Medicine. “Good hygiene, including hand washing, can also help.”

Fact #8: “Stomach Flu” Isn’t Actually A Flu At All

stomach flu
Laura Caseley for LittleThings

So, where does the stomach flu fit into all of this? Well, the stomach flu is not actually influenza at all.

The stomach “flu” is actually gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the intestine lining.

Although some people (especially children) may feel nauseous or have diarrhea and vomiting with influenza, if you just have these symptoms it is probably gastroenteritis.

Please SHARE this article with your friends to spread awareness of the flu!