Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus which can affect any individual but mostly to those who are either immune-compromised or else are at increased risk of contact with the viruses such as in the case of health care workers. The transmission can take place through droplets and at times these infections can be so virulent that it may lead to global pandemics as seen in current H1N1 virus infection.
Each year, there will be a time period where many people get affected by these viruses and each year these viruses can change its structure and virulence than the previous year. Therefore, there is a possibility that medications or a vaccination that was used might not be effective against a new strain of influenza viruses. But, in most instances, the vaccination that is available will tackle the commonest influenza virus during that time period.
As mentioned earlier, these viruses can be transmitted through droplets from an infected person and these droplets can be released to the outside environment at the time of coughing, sneezing, blowing the nose and even after touching a surface by contaminated hands. Thus, a person standing close to an infected person or else a person who touches the contaminated surfaces are likely to get infected. It is mentioned that a person standing in the range of 6 feet from an infected person is liable to get infected and the infected adult can transmit the contaminated droplets from one day before the occurrence of symptoms up to 5 days after. But for children and immune-compromised, the duration would be longer.
Thus, when preventing these infections, many aspects are needed to be considered and the mainstay would be mass vaccinations as well as the practice of hand washing and cough etiquette. Apart from these, more attention should be focused on institutionalized persons as well as the elderly due to their increased susceptibility towards the infection and its spread.
Therefore, following measures are suggested by the Center for Disease Control in United States.
*Practice proper hand washing techniques each time a person visits a public place, handles an infected individual, present in a place where a suspected person was present, visiting a place where large crowds have gathered…etc.
*Wear a mask if you suspect a person is likely to be suffering from influenza or else if you yourself are suspected of having the influenza virus.
*Do not cough or sneeze in to thin air but make use of a handkerchief or else a tissue to cover up the nose and the mouth.
* Maintain distance when hanging around a person who is suspected of having influenza infection. This should at least be 6 feet to be safe.
*Take the flu vaccine if you are likely to encounter infected persons in daily practice as in the case of health care workers.
*Be educated about the signs and symptoms of the influenza and develop the ability to early detect these symptoms and take necessary precautions as and when necessary.
*Keeping the persons who are thought to be infective in an isolated or more likely in a private room as in the case of institutions or else even at home.
*Take adequate amounts of water and a healthy meal in order to boost your immunity and well as hydration which will facilitate your body to act efficiently in fighting the disease.
Apart from these measures, there are many other measures that can be made use of in certain settings and thus avoid the spread of influenza virus from person to person.