The New Flu – Influenza 2011

November 12, 2012

The New Flu - Influenza 2011

The influenza 2011 virus affects the respiratory system but other areas of the body can also become affected too. Any form of influenza can be a very serious illness and some patients may require to be admitted into hospital. The flu season normally begins in autumn and ends in the spring. People can suffer from the flu on many occasions over their lifetime as the influenza viruses are constantly changing. Last year the virus was known as bird flu or influenza 2011.

Influenza symptoms can include:

  • Fever above 101°F or 38.3°C

  • Sore throat

  • Stuffy and runny nose

  • Body aches and chills

  • Headaches and body aches

  • Dry cough

Make sure you get the influenza vaccine every year. These safe vaccines are made on an annual basis to protect against the new variation of the virus. The influenza 2011 vaccine protects against influenza A (H3N2), influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B.

There are two types of influenza vaccines and both are effective against influenza 2011. TIV (trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine), which is administered as an injection. The intramuscular vaccine is licensed and is recommended for use on children who are six months and older and also adults. An intradermal vaccine has now been licensed for the 2011-2012 season to use in people aged 18 up to 64. LAIV which is a live-attenuated vaccine and is sprayed into the nose is recommended for children who are healthy and aged over two years. Both of these vaccines are safe and offer protection from influenza 2011.

This illness is an airborne virus and the droplets from the virus are passed by people coughing and/or sneezing.

Ways to help prevent the virus spreading include washing your hands often with soap or use an alcohol based hand cleanse. Don’t keep used tissues lying around, put in the trash immediately. Utensils and dishes should be washed either in the dishwater or in hot soapy water.

Children who show the following symptoms should see the doctor immediately.

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Fever and is younger than 3 months

  • Unable to drink fluids or not wanting to drink fluid

  • Not urinating enough

If the patient has chronic medical conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, asthma, sickle cell, HIV, cancers and cerebral palsy or suffering from other nervous system disorders that makes the coughing up of mucus difficult and develops the condition, it is very important to contact the doctor.

If a child or adult develops the following symptoms it is recommended that you contact the emergency medical services immediately. Skin colour is turning blue and appears to be constantly sleeping and not waking up. And also there is no improvement in any of the other symptoms related to this condition.

If you have a child who is at a high risk of developing influenza 2011 or any form of flu then contact their doctor within a 24 hour period to request antiviral drugs because the child has the following:

Serious health issues such as cerebral palsy, diabetes, asthma or sickle cell disease.

If the child is younger than 2 years of age extra care must be taken as younger children are at a higher risk of complications and may lead to the child being admitted into hospital.

For children who are 6 months or younger they can be given acetaminophen such as Tylenol. Children who are over 6 months of age can be given ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Before giving any medication to children speak with the doctor or pharmacist for advice. And never, ever give aspirin to a child as they can be at risk of Reye syndrome which is a very serious illness that affects the brain and the liver.

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