There are 4 types of influenza viruses. Only three types infect humans: A, B, C. Influenza A and influenza B cause serious illnesses and epidemics. Influenza C causes a mild illness.
WILL I GET THE FLU IF I GET THE FLU VACCINE? Most influenza vaccines are grown in chicken eggs, and when this year's vaccine was being incubated, the H3N2 virus mutated (changed structure). This is why this year the vaccine is less effective against the H3N2 virus. In general, vaccines are 60% effective in preventing the flu. Therefore, you usually have a 40% chance of getting the flu even if you get vaccinated. This year, scientists think the flu vaccine may only be about 30 percent effective against the H3N2 virus.
IS IT A COLD OR THE FLU?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND THE FLU? Colds and the flu are both respiratory illnesses but caused by different viruses. Colds are usually caused by the adenovirus. Both viruses start by infecting the nose or throat. Flu symptoms starts abruptly and progresse quickly to fever, muscle aches, chills, headache and chest pain. Pneumonia is a serious complication of the flu and can be fatal. Allergic symptoms can mimic cold symptoms but allergies usually have a known trigger.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DEVELOP FLU SYMPTOMS AND YOU USE A CPAP MACHINE? You need to know the difference between cold symptoms and the flu because getting anti-viral medication within 72 hours could change a severe case of the flu into a mild illness. Read the chart above and keep it handy. If in doubt, contact your health provider immediately. Continue using your machine. For nasal stuffiness increase humidification or use over the counter decongestants. To avoid rebound stuffiness, limit use of decongestant nasal sprays to 3 days.
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO RETURN TO WORK? According to the Center for Disease Control, “The period when an infected person is contagious depends on the age and health of the person. You may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer periods of time.”