INFLUENZA – by Dr. Neil Sinha
Summer is coming to an end.
The temperature will start to cool down.
With this change comes a crisp, invigorating smell in the air. The leaves brightly display themselves in beautiful colors as they fall to the ground. Unfortunately, this is also the time when people begin to fall ill to upper respiratory conditions such as influenza and bronchitis. In fact, we sometimes see flu cases as early as August and
as late as May of the following year.
August? May? But those are summer and spring months! The flu is a winter disease, right? While the highest incidence of influenza cases occur during the fall and winter months, the virus doesn’t simply go into a spring/summer hibernation. If it’s out there, it will do its best to infect a host regardless of weather conditions.
Like most viruses, influenza attacks the host’s immune system, thereby making it difficult for the body to fight off other infections. Once the bacteria in our bodies are not kept in check because of a compromised immune system, they naturally begin to multiply and spread. This explains why patients who have influenza may also have other infections from bacteria, such as a sinus infection, strep throat, or pneumonia.
Thankfully, there is a vaccine against influenza which is available every year. The reason why it is given yearly is because the virus changes and mutates. The strain of influenza one year will be different the following year and a new vaccine has to be made. I recommend getting the vaccine. Some of you may choose not to get it for several different reasons. Regardless of whether you get one or not, always be aware of the symptoms affiliated with influenza. They
include fever, chills, body ache, coughing, fatigue, headache and can also include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if it is a case of the stomach flu.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, make an appointment to see us right away so that we can treat you. Enjoy the fall, stay safe and stay healthy!