Imagine being in an elevator with someone, and then getting ill simply because they breathed or sneezed? There are some sicknesses that can be transferred through the air, and those can be difficult to escape. Influenza, or more commonly known as the flu, is an airborne illness that spreads to millions each year and affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized each year when they catch it. A reason that so many people catch the flu is because it is a very contagious respiratory illness that is airborne, making it easy to spread in seconds. Since the illness is passed to another all too easily, family, friends and even the general public are going to need assistance in escaping Influenza’s grasp. This is why the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has come up with National Influenza Vaccination Week, with efforts directed towards raising awareness on vaccines and how they can help stifle the rapid spread of the Flu virus.
Signs and Symptoms
The Center for Disease Control website outlines the signs and symptoms of the Flu:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle of body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea
*Those who experience the Flu can experience all or few of these symptoms, and not everyone will get a fever.
Sometimes the spreading of Influenza can happen before the infected even know they are. Generally, the illness is most contagious within the first 3-4 days after it begins, but otherwise healthy adults can infect others as early as 1 day before they experience symptoms. Moreover, an individual can catch the Flu from someone else 5 to 7 days after that person had already been sick!
The Center for Disease Control aims to live by its namesake and control Influenza by encouraging and spreading knowledge on Flu prevention tactics. One important tactic is stopping the illness before it can even begin, with yearly vaccinations. According to the CDC Website, “An annual Flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially serious disease” and December is the chosen month that the CDC has dedicated to focus vaccination awareness. Here are the reasons why the CDC states that Influenza vaccinations once a year around December are important:
- Flu vaccination can reduce flue illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and school due to flue, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. 
- Flu vaccination also may make the illness milder if one does manage to get sick. 
- Getting vaccinated protects other people as well, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, such as babies and youth, older people, and those with chronic health conditions. 
- Each year, the Flu Vaccine is constantly evolving since the virus itself has so many different types.
Flu activity is usually highest between December and February, a