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Your Top 4 Flu Questions Answered plus the Flu Vaccine Recommended for This Flu Season

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Flu in Family and vaccines

With the upcoming holidays just around the calendar corner, so are seasonal flu illnesses and questions about our health and what we can do about it was the topic of a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show.

“We are officially one week into the flu season where up to 60 million of your will get sick. Last year was the worst flu season on record. So, are you prepared this year?” asks Dr. Oz as he answers viewers top 4 flu questions and gives his recommendation for the flu vaccine you should get this flu season.

1. How do you catch the flu?

Answer: Dr. Oz tells viewers that how you catch the flu is from exposure to someone who is already carrying a flu virus that is residing in their respiratory tract. The virus is spread primarily through either breathing in aerosolized droplets of mucous from a sneeze or by direct contact with mucous that has landed on a surface such as a door knob, a gas pump handle or a faucet handle. According to Dr. Oz, the flu virus can live up to 8 hours on a surface.

What happens when you come in contact with the flu virus―either by breathing it in or touching your contaminated fingers to your face―is that the virus eventually makes its way deep into the lungs and infects the cells lining the inside surface of the lungs where it is moist and warm—an ideal habitat for a virus to replicate and begin your illness.

2. How long should you keep your child out of group care when they have the flu?

Answer: Dr. Oz explains to viewers that the answer to this question lies in understanding a flu virus’s timeline that begins with the virus coming into your body on Day 1. On Day 1, however, you will not know that you are infected because the virus is not replicating as yet and therefore you will not experience any of the signs and symptoms of the flu.

Day 2 is considered to be the danger day because this is when you are contagious to others, but still not showing any signs or symptoms of the flu meaning that you can unwittingly be infecting your friends and family at home.

Days 3-6 Dr. Oz tells viewers are the days that you do begin to feel the symptoms of a flu such as body aches and pains along with a fever and that you know that you are contagious and can isolate yourself from others to prevent them from getting sick too—unless you had already spread the infection to them on Day 2.

Day 7 is the day that you are no longer contagious and can be around your friends and family again even though you may still have some of the signs and symptoms of the flu. Dr. Oz tells viewers that by Day 8 you will begin to feel better, but that you can expect to feel tired and wore out up to a full week afterward.

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3. What’s the difference between a flu shot and a flu spray—which is better?

Answer: The difference between the flu shot and the flu spray (also known as the FluMist vaccine) is not only in their delivery i.e. a needle stick in the arm or a squirt of liquid in the nose, but the fact that unlike the needle shot, the flu vaccine in the spray consists of live viruses rather than the dead viral particles from a shot that alerts and primes the body’s immune system against an infection.

Dr. Oz likens the flu spray as being like a weak battery that still carries a charge, but not one strong enough to do anything. The spray consists of weakened flu viruses that cannot cause the flu in a normally healthy person with a strong immune system.

“For healthy adults they both [the flu shot and spray] work well, which means that you have a choice,” says Dr. Oz.

However, the caveat is that you have to already have a healthy immune system, which is why the nasal spray flu vaccine is recommended for healthy individuals between the ages of 2 and 50 years old. If you are younger or older (or pregnant) than this range, then the shot is the recommended way to get your protective flu vaccine.

4. When should you get vaccinated?

Answer: The flu season can run from October to May, which means that without having had a flu virus vaccination that you are at risk of having the flu anytime within that period. Health authorities recommend getting your flu shot or spray in October as a preventive against potential infection.

The good news is that it’s never too late to have your flu vaccine and benefit from it—even if you’ve already caught and recovered from the flu this winter. The reason for this is that there are multiple strains of flu viruses out there, and so if you have already been infected by one virus strain and have recovered, you will not automatically be protected against a new infection by another flu virus strain.

Dr. Oz’s flu vaccine recommendation

Dr. Oz recommends taking the latest flu vaccine called “the standard dose quadrivalent (sometimes also referred to as “tetravalent”) flu” shot/spray that will provide protection against four flu viruses: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and two influenza B viruses.

For an informative article about how to prevent the flu and cold viruses naturally, click-on the titled link, “Avoid the Cold & Flu This Winter with Dr. Oz's 4 Natural Immunity Boosting Solutions.”

Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket

Reference: The Dr. Oz Show