The flu is a virus that affects the upper respiratory tract causing congestion of the sinuses and lungs. Common symptoms caused by the influenza virus includes sore throat, headache, fever, chills, sinus congestion, chest congestion, nasal congestion, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, body aches, and dizziness. The symptoms are the strongest during the first few days with the fever, headache, chills, and body aches gradually decreasing as the virus runs its course. The cough and congestion can linger for weeks or days, depending on how the virus affected the body. Antibiotics are not effective when it comes to viruses. The main course of treatment is to address the symptoms and reduce the patient's general discomfort.
An annual flu shot will help to protect a person from outbreaks of a particular flu virus. Doctors recommend that individuals get a flu shot every year to prevent them from contracting the virus, even though they may be exposed. The flu vaccination is made of either a living or dead form of the virus. Once the virus has been injected into the body, the immune system begins to develop antibodies to fight off the virus if it presents itself. Commonly reported side effects of the virus include low-grade fever, headache, tenderness and bruising near the injection site and the possibility of mild flu-like symptoms.
Most doctors would prefer all of their patients receive a flu shot. Even though many patients may opt to not get the shot, doctors will stress the importance of the vaccine for small children, the elderly, and anyone who has a depressed immune system. Individuals who have a weakened immune system may not be able to fight off the virus like someone who is in good, general health. A small child's immune system may not have developed enough to fend off the virus, while an elderly person may not have the nutritional support to maintain a strong immune system. Individuals with a chronic illness may have a weakened immune system that does not function efficiently. The flu shot can provide a much-needed boost to the immune system and give the body what it needs to fight off the virus.
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