Catching the influenza virus, often known as “the flu”, is a concern for people worldwide. Thailand’s flu season usually coincides with its wet season, which generally takes place between June and October each year. Keep yourself and loved ones healthy this flu season, whether you live in Thailand or are simply traveling through, with these simple tips.
Who is vulnerable?
The people who are most vulnerable to the influenza virus are the young, elderly, women who are pregnant, and anyone with a compromised immune system. However, any healthy person can contract the flu, become very sick, and spread it to others.
Symptoms of the flu are body aches, chills, cough, fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, and tiredness. However, the flu should not be mistaken for a bad cold. What makes the flu dangerous is that it can lead to other complications such as developing pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, and sinus infections.
Keep in mind that influenza is a virus that requires antiviral medication to resolve. Antibiotics do not work against the flu because it is not a bacterial infection.
How can I protect myself?
Practicing good hygienic habits can help stop spread the germs that cause illnesses like the flu. Because the flu virus is spread by physical contact, it is important to give space to someone who is sick and reduce the time spent with them in close quarters.
If you are in contact with someone who is sick, wash your hands frequently. Since many germs enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth, making a conscious effort to refrain from touching these areas on your body is a good way to reduce the chance of contracting the flu virus. Regularly disinfecting shared surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, phones, and faucet handles can also significantly reduce the spread of the flu virus.
If you do have the flu, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. Tissues not only confine the germs and prevent them from going airborne, but they also minimize the germs that get on your hands, which are then easily spread. If possible, stay home when you are sick to reduce the exposure of the flu virus to others.
Focusing on your health will also keep the influenza virus at bay. Eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and minimizing stressful tasks or thoughts are all great health habits that will keep your immune system strong against the flu.
If you choose to get the flu shot
An excellent way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year. Bumrungrad International Hospital offers flu vaccinations that are suitable for children as well as older adults. For more information, contact +66 2011 5999 or leave a question via are our inquire form on the right side of this article.
By Dr. Lily Chaisompong, Specialist for Internal and Geriatric Medicine, Bumrungrad Hospital.
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