Image from www.cdc.gov
Influenza Has Two-Thirds Of The Year
Commonly, flu activity for the flu season is going to affect a given community between October and May in the United States. This will vary from region to region. Some will be affected as early as late August, and see a massive tapering off before the end of March. Some won’t see anything severe until the middle of November. Generally, wherever you’re located in the United States, influenza instances peak around the middle of the winter months, between December and February.
Factors Influencing Influenza Epidemics
The yearly flu season really is a kind of epidemic, but its severity and onset have factors that do play a part. One is travel. During the travel times which surround Christmas and New Year, people will travel across the country and bring their viral contact with them without meaning to. During the Summer months, there is a great deal of travel as well. So when kids come back to school, they’ll usually spread viruses around. A child who went out of the country will have a play date with a child who never left their local town. The traveling youngster will accidentally transmit the flu he didn’t know he was carrying to his local friend, who in turn is kind enough to share it with his parents, and they with their coworkers. Because of the length it takes for the symptoms of influenza to manifest, it can take a day or so before someone realizes they’ve caught the virus. During this time, they’re contagious without knowing it. In this way, sicknesses are often transported from other regions on flights. A flight is seldom 24 hours, and is always enclosed in a relatively tight space. Sickness has ample time to spread in such conditions.
One of the biggest factors in the spread of influenza is overall health. When a society has adopted trends that are unhealthy, it can become a breeding ground for sickness. Take smoking, for instance. Smoking can result in a chronic cough coupled to addiction. When a smoker is sick, they don’t quit smoking entirely; they barely curtail their vice. The cough existed before, and comes again after. They may have walking pneumonia for months and have no idea. When such persons become statistic quotients of society, they can make it easy for influenza to spread. The same is true for individuals subsisting on diets that aren’t as healthy as they should be. Proper health gives the body enough strength to support immune system functionality. But when foodstuffs are processed such that the nutritional content wanes into obscurity, the body’s immune system fuel ebbs and so defenses are weakened. Processed sugars, enriched flour, preservative agents, cooking practices and other things combine to reduce nutritional content in many modern foods. When this is coupled with unhealthy lifestyles that aren’t active enough physically, immune systems are weakened, becoming susceptible to influenza.
What To Do
You can take steps to ensure you and those around you are at decreased risk for the contraction of influenza. Steps include:
- Regular Physical Exercise
- Nutritionally Balanced (Healthy) Diet (avoid processed foods where possible)
- Plenty Of Healthy Fluids (alcohol weakens the immune system)
- Hygiene (regular showers, brushed teeth, washed hands, etc.)
- Healthy Public Practice (wash hands after touching doorknobs, or use a tissue; etc.)
Vaccinations should be administered when a person is at a healthy point, as the antigens involved produce an immune system response which is basically a miniature version of the illness. It lasts a few days to a few hours, and gives the immune system important information to combat the year’s influenza epidemic.