KWCH viewers' questions about the flu

Published On: Jan 15 2014 05:40:04 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 15 2014 06:25:50 PM CST

KWCH viewers asked many great questions on our Facebook page about the flu. Here are the answers to a few of them, according to the infection prevention team at Wesley Medical Center.

Why are some people more or less susceptible to getting the flu?

  • Getting the flu depends on being exposed, the virulence (strength) of the flu virus, the amount of virus, the immune system of the person exposed, medications the person takes may play a part as well as illnesses that they have.  Different types of flu virus also seem to target different populations differently.   

How long will the flu shot last before you should get another one? 

  • It will last the entire season -6-8 months

Do we know if the people who have died got their flu shot? 

  • It can be fatal in persons with chronic conditions that weaken the immune system.  In your healthy individuals there is some thought that the person's immune system over reacts to the virus causing organs to fail.

How soon are you protected after getting vaccinated?

  • About 2 weeks.

What are the best ways to protect children who were not able to get the flu shot?

  • "cocoon” them by having everyone around them get a flu shot.

How long does the upper respiratory hang on to your lungs?

  • It can last a few days to several weeks often depending on the pre flu lung condition, but also depending on how intense the person's immune response was.

Will people who had H1N1 when it first went around have some resistance to it this year?

  • They should, but the flu virus mutates quickly and those changes can fool our immune system

About how long does the flu last? 

  • The acute symptoms (fever, body aches) usually last 3-10 days.  If a person picks up a secondary infection like bronchitis or pneumonia it can last several weeks.

What is your best advice for protecting infants from the flu? 

  • Everyone around them needs to have a flu shot.  Everyone should use soap and water or alcohol hand gel prior to touching the infant.  No one who is ill should be around the infant.