Flu After Flu: Is It Possible?

The short answer is yes. Even if you’ve already faced the challenge of catching the rivers of fluids escaping your nose and could cook eggs on your forehead this season, it does not mean you have got enough protection to keep another flu strain at bay.

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The short answer is yes. Even if you’ve already faced the challenge of catching the rivers of fluids escaping your nose and could cook eggs on your forehead this season, it does not mean you have got enough protection to keep another flu strain at bay.

Why can a person get the flu twice?

Such cases are quite rare, but it’s not uncommon to fall ill several times a season. If you think that the experience of eliminating one strain of virus from your body has enabled your immune system to fight off any intruders, you are wrong.

The viruses that cause the flu mutate easily, and there are many strains circulating simultaneously. For example, the winter of 2017/2018 has seen several strains attacking citizens, and the majority of them encountered H3N2. However, about 10-15% of Americans got H1N1, which belongs to the influenza B virus type, and it’s different from influenza A.

Can flu shots help?

Yes, they can. Yet the fact that they contain flu strains does not mean they grant 100% protection.

Every year healthcare authorities develop a seasonal flu shot, which is a cocktail including a range of flu strains which are most likely to rage this season. In most cases, a flu shot features 3-4 strains, which means there are others that are rare, but still possible to catch.

The fact that there is no guarantee those vaccinated will not fall ill does not mean such shots are useless. Although there is not much cross-protection, if you have got some protection against a strain of influenza A but catch another virus of this type, it may be easier for your body to fight it off. However, it does not work the same way in case of catching influenza B, as they are really different. The vaccines can be used in children as young as six months.

Should I get a vaccine if I’ve already caught the flu?

As soon as you recover, you should receive the flu vaccine in order to help prevent another flu strain from making you experience all the symptoms again. It is especially true of cases when you caught your first flu at the beginning of the season, and there are plenty of cold days ahead.

Is there a way to prevent flu?

You cannot “prevent” flu, just as you cannot prevent colds, but you can minimize the chance of catching the flu.

In order to avoid flu, you can stick to the following rules:

  • Do not skip vaccination. Flu shots can help you either avoid the illness at all or alleviate the symptoms, if the strain in the vaccine you used was of the same type as the one you caught.
  • Wash your hands properly. There is no need to use special antibacterial kinds of soap. Even common Aleppo soap or other simple products can be effective. To eliminate all (or the majority of) the viruses, you have to scrub your hands for no less than 20 seconds. You can even sing a hand-washing song to facilitate the process. The germs will be removed regardless of whether the water you are using is cold or hot – it’s the rubbing that makes the viruses be flushed away. Don’t forget about what is under your nails!
  • If you are somewhere with no water to wash hands with, a sanitizer can be a good option. Make sure it has not expired: it will be less effective if the liquid is old.
  • Keep everything clean. It should not be an obsession, but it can help you avoid catching the flu if you wash your clothes after you’ve encountered a sick person, and use sanitizers to clean things often touched by many people. For example, if you are a paramedic who meets a lot of people every day, changing clothes when returning home and washing them right away is a must.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Contrary to many ads, you cannot boost your immune system simply by buying that shiny pill or drinking a small bottle of milk-based drink. Exercising regularly, maintaining healthy spirit, and eating healthy food are among the constituents of a healthy lifestyle, and that’s just what really affects your immune system. So don’t skip that running session – besides other benefits, it can help you avoid flu in the winter!
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