Paulina Swain ’19, Social Media Manager
The cold months are approaching in Michigan which means doctors are preparing for a spike in patients showing signs of influenza. Flu activity will begin to peak in the months of December to February. The cause of the rise in illness is the changing weather, and the effects it has on one’s immune system.
Healthline professionals have said, “During the colder months of the year our immune system begins to weaken as we adjust to the changing weather patterns. This is believed to be the biggest cause of why people get the flu in the winter more.” Medline also estimates that 5 to 20 percent of people in the United States. show symptoms of the flu every year.
The flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness. Multiple viruses that affect the nose, throat, and lungs all contribute to influenza. According to the CDC “More than 200,000 people in the United States, on average, are hospitalized each year for illnesses associated with the seasonal influenza virus infections”. This illness will usually last from one to two weeks, depending on how you decide to treat it. The flu usually starts off as feeling like a common cold, but the illness gradually increases in severity with more symptoms such as weakness, muscle aches, fatigue, and may lack mobility, which is why fast treatment and doctor visits are recommended.
For those who wish to avoid getting sick with the flu, most doctors will recommend getting the flu shot a month in advance of the cold winter. The flu shot causes a release of antibodies from your immune system which will then protect against infections from the viruses that are in the flu vaccine. Another way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands and keep yourself healthy.
With the spike of cases of the flu during the cold months, it is recommended to take action in avoiding contact with those who are sick. And when that is not an option, make sure you are well rested and keeping yourself healthy, and make a trip to get your vaccination in order to avoid getting the flu this year.
Photo courtesy of MNN