What can you read in this article?
- Reasons why more people get the flu during the rainy season
- Things you need to know about the flu: causes, effects, symptoms
- Prevention of the flu during the rainy season
Seasonal influenza (or “flu”) is most often caused by type A or B influenza viruses. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and a runny nose.
The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Rainy season in the Philippines also means “Flu Season”.
Flu Season In The Philippines: Why do more people get the Flu during the rainy season?
According to Doctor Kris Lodrono Lim, a Medical Affairs manager for vaccines at GSK Philippines at theAsianparent webinar in our Facebook page cases of flu during the rainy season reach their peak between the month of June – November every year.
She also stated that it is the main reason why a lot of doctors recommend flu vaccination during summer time as a preparation for the upcoming rainy season.
But does it ever cross your mind why do more people get the flu during the rainy season in the Philippines? The answer is because the virus lives longer indoors in this kind of season, for the air is less humid than outside.
While it’s alive and in the air, it’s easy for people to inhale it, or for it to land on the eyes, nose, or mouth. We spend more time indoors and have closer contact with each other, which makes it easier for the virus to spread.
Image from Freepik
Since June is a “back to school” month (in some schools) it is more disturbing and frightening because your child might get the virus while inside in an enclosed space with his/her classmates.
Dr. Edwin V. Rodriguez, a resident in pediatrics at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center once stated on a GSK Flu Webinar that someone may show no signs of flu but can still carry the influenza virus.
“So ang challenge dito kung mayroon po tayong nakakasama na mayroong senyales o sintomas ng flu, madali po tayong makakaiwas at makakapaglagay ng proteksyon pero kung asymptomatic po o walang nararamdaman at sa tingin po natin ay malusog, hindi po tayo makakaiwas dahil walang signs or symptoms” he added.
It is relevantly true because it is harder to compete with what you cannot see but it doesn’t mean that you cannot protect yourself from the virus.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding flu. Some people don’t take it seriously because they thought that it’s just the same as a common cold.
“Ang flu ay mas malala o mas seryoso kesa sa common cold, usually po ang flu maaaring mayroong mga komplikasyon habang mayroong flu o pagkatapos kumpara sa common cold”. Dr. Edwin V. Rodriguez stated on the GSK Flu webinar.
#AskDok: What’s the difference between trangkaso and colds?
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#AskDok: Does my child really need to have a flu vaccine?
5 things you need to know about the Influenza Virus and the flu season in the Philippines
1. The flu is contagious before symptoms start
You might not notice but before you experience some symptoms of the flu, you can potentially spread the virus of you being unaware! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, you can infect someone with the virus one day before your symptoms start.
You’re most contagious within the first three to four days of becoming ill, although you may remain contagious for up to five to seven days after you become sick. It’s important to avoid close contact with others to prevent passing the illness to another person.
2. The flu can cause life-threatening complications
Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of getting serious complications from flu:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children younger than 2 years old1
- Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease)
- Kidney diseases
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
- People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- A person with a weakened immune system due to disease (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or some cancers such as leukemia) or medications (such as those receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or persons with chronic conditions requiring chronic corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system)
- Someone who has had a stroke
Other people at high risk from the flu:
- Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People from certain racial and ethnic minority groups are at increased risk for hospitalization with flu, including non-Hispanic Black persons, Hispanic or Latino persons, and American Indian or Alaska Native persons
- Although all children younger than 5 years old are considered at high risk for serious flu complications, the highest risk is for those younger than 2 years old, with the highest hospitalization and death rates among infants younger than 6 months old.
However, anyone can develop severe complications. The flu virus can also trigger secondary infections. Some infections are minor, such as an ear infection or a sinus infection.
Serious complications can include bacteria, pneumonia, and sepsis. The flu virus can also worsen chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes, and can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The GSK Flu webinar also tackled the high risk group or the people who are more likely to acquire the virus.
“Una ay ang mga buntis, mga bata na less than five (5) years old, sila po ay major na nagtatransmit ng flu, ‘yong may nga asthma o mga COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease at lastly yung ating mga elderly,” Doctor Kris Lodrono Lim stated.
3. The flu vaccine doesn’t cause the flu
One variety of the flu shot does include a severely weakened form of the flu virus. It doesn’t cause real infection, but it allows your body to develop necessary antibodies.
Another variety of the flu shot only includes a dead or inactivated, virus. Some people do experience mild flu-like symptoms after getting a vaccine.
This can include a low-grade fever and body aches. But this isn’t the flu and these symptoms typically only last one to two days. You may also experience other mild reactions after getting the flu vaccine. This includes brief soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site.
4. You need a new flu vaccine every year
The predominant flu viruses circulating this season will differ from next year’s viruses. This is because the virus undergoes changes each year. Therefore, you’ll need a new vaccine every year to protect yourself.
“Ang ating resistensya po ay hindi pare-pareho bawat araw, bawat buwan at tayo po ay naeexpose din sa atin working environment sa mga conditions na pweding magpababa ng ating immune system” Dr. Edwin V. Rodriguez uttered on the GSK Flu webinar
He also emphasized the importance of getting a flu vaccination every year. Even the healthiest people need to undergo vaccination for their safety.
“Ang influenza virus ay nagmumutate. Ito nga pong nabakunahan na nung nakaraang taon ay kinakailangan pa rin bakunahan ulit sa panibagong taon dahil nga po sa posibilidad ng pabago-bago ang strains ng flu virus, so kasama din po ang mga healthy individuals.” he continuously added.
5. You can still get the flu after a vaccination
Be mindful that it’s possible to get the flu after receiving a vaccination. This can happen if you become infected with the virus before your vaccine is effective, or if the flu vaccine does not provide adequate coverage against the predominant circulating virus.
Additionally, you can become sick if you come in contact with a strain of the virus that’s different from the one you were vaccinated against. On average, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of illness by between 40 to 60 percent.
The flu can range from mild to severe, so it’s important that you recognize symptoms early and start treatment to avoid complications.
You should avoid close contact with people, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose at all times and always wash or clean your hands, most importantly get a flu vaccination.
Doctor Kris Lodrono Lim, a Medical Affairs manager for vaccines at GSK Philippines uttered on GSK Flu Webinar: “Ang Bakuna Ay Panlaban At Hindi Kalaban” so never hesitate to get the flu vaccination to protect yourself, your family, as well as the people around you.
Healthline, WHO, CDC.GOV, GSK Flu Webinar
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. TheAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.