According to the reports produced by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than a million people suffer from influenza or flu every year, making it one of the highest factors for causing fatality in people worldwide. The number of deaths caused due to flu has increased over the past decade and it keeps on elevating every day.
But why are there so many flu deaths every year? Is there no cure or preventive measures that help us to stop one more global pandemic to rise? If you are also intrigued to know more, then continue reading the articles as we delve further into the topic.
How many people die due to the flu?
According to medical terminology, flu is a viral respiratory infection that produces mild to severe symptoms in the body and can lead to chronic complications in the future if left untreated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during the 2019-2020 flu season, more than 34,200 deaths have occurred in the United States alone and listed below are the approximate figures recorded during the flu season in 2019-2020.
- A little above million flu deaths
- 98,000-111, 000 hospitalizations due to influenza
- 46million-76million medical visits due to flu
- 88million-99million flu cases recorded
The death due to flu cases has been recorded an increase by 45,000-60,000 every year and more than 876,923 people have been reported dying due to flu-related respiratory ailments.
Flu is not always the primary cause of fatality but the conditions caused due to influenza is. The numbers of a fatality caused due to flu are alarming and it is high time that some effective measures be taken against it. Most of the time it has been observed that people cannot differentiate the symptoms between that of common cold and influenza and tend to ignore the signs thinking that will go with time. Not being able to diagnose influenza in the initial stages leads to complications in the future and this is the reason for so many deaths caused due to flu. Therefore, we need to know more about the disease and how we can effectively ameliorate the conditions easily.
About the pathogen!
Before talking about the symptoms and preventive measures, we need to know about the Influenza virus which is the pathogen for flu.
There are four types of the virus and those are
- Influenza A virus- These types have further subtypes depending upon their combination of hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) and the circulating subtypes are A(H1N1) and A(H3N2). The A(H1N1) virus is the one that caused the pandemic in 2009 and this subtype of influenza is generally known to cause most infections in humans.
- Influenza B viruses- Although not classified into subtypes, it is usually broken into lineages and the circulating lineages are B/Yamagata and B/Victoria lineages.
Apart from the above-mentioned subtypes, there are other two subtypes of the influenza virus- Influenza C and Influenza D viruses. Influenza C subtype causes mild infections and does not pose serious threats to public health, and on the other hand, the Influenza D subtype does not cause illness in people but instead affects cattle.
Symptoms of the flu
Now coming to the symptoms of flu, detecting the symptoms early on helps in spreading the infection and further aggravating the situation. Therefore, look out for the following signs
- Sudden and excessive fatigue (this symptom usually occurs during the incubation period of the virus and is the earliest sign that comes way before other symptoms)
- Body aches and chills and fever
- Sore throat and cough
- Gastrointestinal problems
The symptoms mentioned are common between cold and flu but the symptoms of common cold go away within a few days, however, influenza signs do not go away easily. You should consult your medical advisor immediately if you notice the signs not going away even after two-three days or further worsening of the condition is taking place.
In the case of children, they suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms too, but according to reports, there can be some other symptoms observed too like
- No or reduced appetite
- Being irritated and cranky all the times
- Development of allergic reactions on the body
- Difficult in urination
Who is at risk of contracting the flu?
Influenza affects young and old alike but some people are at a greater risk than others especially children under the age of 5 and adults above 65 of age. And apart from them, higher risk involves people who are
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Individuals having chronic ailments like diabetes, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurological and heart-related disorders.
- Health care workers
- People having BMI over 40 or having a poor immune system
- Exposure to aspirin and salicylate-based medications
- Organ donor recipients
Complications due to flu
WHO states that flu is a progressive illness that means the symptoms worsen over time quickly and therefore the complications noticed due to flu are
- Ear infection
Most flu cases resolve on their own but it becomes life-threatening when pneumonia arises with it.
Preventive measures to be taken during the flu season
There should be some preventive measures taken to prevent the spreading of the flu virus and also aggravating the conditions further in the affected person.
- People who can be managed with minor treatments should be advised to stay home so that the disease does not spread in the whole community.
- Monitoring the symptoms is essential so that if the symptoms worsen over time, they can be easily brought to notice and immediate medications and treatments can be provided then.
- Take proper vaccinations and antiviral treatments so that you can remain protected whenever the flu season sets in.
- Before the flu season sets in or while the flu season go on, make sure to follow personal and public hygiene. Wash your hands, maintain respiratory hygiene, avoid coming in contact with people who are already affected by the disease, and always make sure to keep the place where you reside, clean and tidy.
Fatalities caused due to flu are rampant and have been increasing over the past century, but has already seen early diagnosis helps you in eradicating the ailment at an early stage. Hopefully, this article was able to give you an insight into the flu disease and we advise that as soon as you observe any of the symptoms, consult your medical provider immediately.