Monday, May 31, 2010

The Deadly Virus

(This is a 48-hour sticky post, scroll down for updates!)

I didn't know that flu and cold are actually two different illnesses. I thought flu is like the medical term for cold or something... until recently when I attended a talk about the danger of flu.

All this while I had been using the term "flu" whenever I have runny nose. Salah rupanya! Now that I know what those two are, it's actually quite easy to differentiate them.

Flu comes from the word influenza which causes severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people - like H1N1. It is caused by the influenza viruses A, B and rarely C that affects the whole body. Cold on the other hand is..... well, the normal "selesema". You know, the common runny or stuffy nose that we always seem to get from time to time.

There are major differences in characteristics between flu and cold. Flu is always accompanied by high fever (39-40 degrees Celsius), massive headache, muscular pains and feeling very weak that lasts for 1-2 weeks and complications like pneumonia, bronchitis and even death may occur. As for cold, you don't always have a fever but even if you have, it's only a mild one (below 38 degrees Celsius) and only takes 3-4 days to recover. And no, you won't die from getting a cold - at least not for the common colds.

Ayra with a cold and mild fever at 12 months old.
I remembered she refused to get a rest - she just wants to play!

Both are contagious but flu is even more contagious that even healthy people can get infected. You can catch the flu by simply touching contaminated objects or when the infected person coughs and sneezes. I think we all know that. But do you know that the deadly flu can be prevented - besides constantly washing your hands with soap and using hand sanitizers and wearing a mask?

Well obviously not this kind of mask! ;p

Get vaccinated!

Apparently vaccination is the most effective protection against influenza for you and your loved ones. It is proven that up to 90% of healthy people who are vaccinated each year are protected. The influenza virus can change slightly each year, making the vaccine used in the previous year ineffective. That is why the flu vaccination is recommended to take once a year. When you are vaccinated, your body responds to the vaccine by producing an immune response. Some people may experience side effects after taking the flu vaccine tho, like soreness at the site of the injection, muscle ache and fever, but only for a couple of days.

H1N1 is still active in Malaysia. In fact, influenza cases in Malaysia actually occur throughout the year whether there is a pandemic or not. Regardless of seasonal or pandemic, influenza kills. The only thing is we don't actively looking for influenza cases during "normal situations", but only in a pandemic situation like now. It's a good idea to get yourself vaccinated especially if you are among the people who are at the highest risk of getting it. After all, prevention is always better than cure. But do consult your doctor first before getting the vaccine (or any medication). You don't want something else to happen now, do you?

Labels: , ,

She slipped off her pink stilettos at 10:00 AM |