What is Influenza Season?
October 9, 2017
Influenza season is the time of year when outbreaks of influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, are more prevalent. The season is typically during the cold part of the year, which varies depending upon geographical location. For example, in the United States the influenza season is considered from October to May. In tropical environments, the season is considered to be year round because there is no time period when outbreaks of influenza appear to be more pronounced.
The cause of influenza season is the influenza virus. The virus, or germ, is spread through the air by coughing and sneezing. It can be contracted by touching an infected surface or inhaling the virus in a cloud form known as an aerosol, which is produced by someone coughing or sneezing. The most common symptoms are coughs, fever, and a sore throat. Other symptoms often show up as well, such as muscle cramps, chills, and a severe headache. The influenza virus is often confused with the common cold, but it is more severe and is caused by a different virus.
No one is sure why influenza season occurs during cold weather, but there are several theories that seek to explain it. The most common explanation is that since it is colder outside, more people stay indoors so they are in closer contact, and that leads to easier transmission of the influenza virus. Another common theory is that since it is colder, the influenza virus can linger longer on an infected surface, such as a countertop or doorknob. It has also been suggested that the cold, dry air dries out mucous membranes, which play a strong role in defending against infectious agents, and that makes it easier for the virus to penetrate the body.
To reduce the number of outbreaks during influenza season, the World Health Organization recommends getting a vaccination. Many large companies offer them free to employees now, and there are many clinics that offer inexpensive treatments. Although it is recommended most people get a vaccination, certain groups are at higher risk. It is strongly recommended that those with asthma, diabetes, cancer and HIV/AIDS receive the influenza vaccination. They will receive a specific type of shot, depending on the particular issue, as all of these diseases either cause, or are caused by, a suppressed immune system. Anyone who has a condition where there immune system is depressed is more at risk during influenza season.
“Flu Season,” Flufacts.com
“Flu Season,” CDC.gov