Dec 4, 2018
Posted in: health
By Candace Schiele
Have you ever been the unlucky individual who has been sneezed on by someone with the flu? Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses. The virus infects the throat, nose, and sometimes even the lungs. Health Canada estimates that between 10 and 25 percent of the population gets the flu each year.
New studies show that the influenza flu virus can be spread not only through coughing and sneezing, but also through breathing. According to Dr. Milton, a professor of Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, their team found that the flu virus contaminated the air around the infected individual just by breathing, without coughing or sneezing. The flu is spread by breathing, sneezing and talking when droplets land on your eyes, mouth and nose.
Although symptoms of the cold and flu are somewhat similar there are differences. In general, the flu is more severe than a common cold. Symptoms of the flu can include; fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, sneezing, stuffy nose, headache and fatigue. The National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases state that a cold doesn’t generally result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations like it could with the flu.
One very effective way to clear the air is by burning sage. According to a Krueger and Reeds article on the Biological impact of small air ions, negative ions that are released when a space has been smudged with Sage have been found to help fight the influenza virus.
There are a number of important prevention measures we can take to lower our chance of becoming sick with the flu virus. According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the best ways to prevent the flu each year is to follow some important steps. Getting flu shots is important. Vaccinations can vary in their effectiveness but recent studies show that flu vaccine reduces the risk of illness by between 40 and 60 percent during seasons when viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine.
Other prevention measures include decreasing the spread of germs – through washing hands and covering our nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. We should also avoid touching mouth, nose, and eyes as germs can spread this way. Infection can also happen if you touch a surface with the virus, so cleaning surfaces helps too.
Flu season peaks from December to March each year and so it is important to take these steps in order to reduce our chances of catching or spreading influenza virus. When in doubt, do as Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod would do “keep fit and have fun”. That’s right. Stress reduction, healthy eating, and regular exercise help boost your immune system, which decreases your chances of becoming ill.