Heads Up — Experts Say This Flu Season Is Going To Be Worse Than Usual
Water restrictions, the listeriosis outbreak and now the flu? Can South Africa catch a break? Apparently not. Experts are calling this flu season “formidable”, owing to the surge of cases in the U.S. that have led to higher number of hospitalisations, serious infections and in some cases, death.
In case you weren’t sure, the flu is a virus, meaning it grows and changes in time, like a living organism. Every year, flu strains change, and our bodies need to keep up. “While some people let these viruses run their course without taking precautionary steps, people must know that complications from flu, like pneumonia and the effects of flu combined with other health conditions, can be very serious, even fatal,” warns Dr Noluthando Nematswerani, Head of the Centre for Clinical Excellence at Discovery Health.
The Case For Vaccination
Given the burden of disease already plaguing South Africans and a lack of water in some provinces leading to a decline in basic hygiene, it’s more important than ever to prevent the onset of the flu. Aside from eating foods that boost your immunity and taking your vitamins, getting a vaccination is the best defence against new strains of the virus.
How Vaccinations Work
Once you’ve been injected, your body develops the necessary antibodies to fight off the flu, which usually takes about two weeks. For this reason, now is the best time to get vaccinated – by the time flu season hits, you’re likely immune. And the idea that the vaccine makes you sick? It could happen that you are exposed to the flu virus before or during the two-week period that it takes to develop virus antibodies or become exposed to a circulating seasonal strain not included in the vaccine. Other illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms to the flu.