Influenza, better known as the flu, is often perceived by the public to be a viral infection causing fever and headache for a few days. But recent studies have found that its effects might be more adverse than previously observed.
The flu mainly affects a person's respiratory system, i.e., the lungs, nose, and throat, but its effects propagate throughout the body. The risk of heart attack increases tenfold a week after infection in people of all ages , and the risk of hospitalization , and death increases sixfold for diabetic patients .
Other complications include a much higher likeliness of a first stroke or a heart attack among adults aged 40 and above. It also causes an eightfold increase in getting pneumonia for children under 14 . You can mitigate these risks by taking an influenza vaccine.
Flu vaccines are available for individuals of all ages, including individuals with comorbidities. The vaccination is known to reduce any flu-related incidences in people suffering from such acute respiratory ailments .
People, especially those suffering from COPD, have seen a significant decrease in influenza-related hospitalizations after taking a flu vaccine . Although all COPD patients should take the flu vaccination shot, it is ideally recommended for individuals with an FEV1 of around 30-49% .
FEV1, or forced expiratory volume, measures the air a person exhales during a forced exhalation. COPD patients should have around 50-70% FEV1, but any lower than that makes it a severe case .
Asthmatic patients are also recommended to get a flu vaccine, as and when possible, to reduce any severe complications that might arise. Influenza is known to cause respiratory issues in asthma cases; hence a vaccination will decrease hospitalization by 59-78% .
All in all, influenza is a highly overlooked virus that causes more harm than people perceive it to. We recommend everyone speak to their doctors or paediatricians on the benefit of influenza vaccination.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies India under the South Asia transmission Zone of flu circulation which is more aligned with the Southern Hemisphere (SH) Strain#.
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 bmcpulmmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12890-017-0420-8#:~:text=Influenza%20is%20a%20frequent%20cause,%2C%20substantial%20healthcare%2Drelated%20costs www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190123124719.htm#:~:text=%22Despite%20these%20severe%20outcomes%2C%20we,hospitalizations%20among%20patients%20with%20COPD.
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