Living in Canada, means that from November to April, we have flu season. For some families, this doesn’t mean much but a few missed days of school or work through out the winter but for many other families, the flu means complications and heartbreak. The more common complication from the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. However as medical research progress, there’s a few disease (genetic and non-genetic) that can be triggered and/or aggravated by influenza such as in our case with acute necrotizing encephalopathy but there’s risk of encephalitis in itself (more at: https://www.encephalitis.info/ ) . Other complication of the flu include stroke, focal neurologic deficits, Guillain-Barré syndrome, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and transverse myelitis. The flu can change your life in a matter of seconds, it causes brain injury.
Are you surprised? Brain injury is often thought to be related to sport accident, vehicular accident and other physical trauma unfortunately we cannot even see the flu and can potentially prevent it but it can cause brain injury. Remember that the flu is capable of great devastation, remember SARS in 2003 and the swine flu in 2009 and you can also see it through out history.
You cannot escape the flu as influenza spreads around the world in a yearly outbreak,, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide. Yes, you’ve read those numbers right something that you think cannot happen to you or a healthy child while death occurs mostly in the young, the old and those with other health problems there’s healthy individuals and individual with underlying diagnosed conditions that also succumb. Death is devastating, there’s no redo and there’s no potential for any human to recover from that. You can find flu horror stories at https://fighttheflufoundation.org/ . In the Northern and Southern parts of the world, outbreaks occur mainly in winter while in areas around the equator outbreaks may occur at any time of the year. You cannot escape influenza on Earth, that is.
There are two main types of influenza: A and B. Influenza A is the big bad one as more virulent and also tends to mutate more. Influenza B, for its part, is an important disease in that it hits kids more than adults. Each year, the flu vaccine contains protection against two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B. For those of you that know us, influenza B is Arden’s trigger to re-activate an acute necrotizing encephalopathy episode (what is ANE? visit www.aneinternational.org for more information). Each year, influenza strains mutate and re-emerge, infecting victims and triggering a new season.
Here’s a quick fact for our family and what another triggered episode could mean: ANE is the 2nd in the mortality rates. Acute necrotizing encephalitis is a distinct neurological complication of influenza infection with reported mortality rates of 30%–40%, second only to historical descriptions of encephalitis lethargica (60%) among neurologic complications of influenza.
The flu in a third of cases do not present any symptoms hence you are carrying, shedding and infecting other individual without knowing. If at least 75 per cent of the public were to be immunized, a herd immunity would occur. That means that if most people were vaccinated, the odds of an unvaccinated person getting sick would be very low. While most of us feel healthy, the flu shot has benefits that extend beyond our own immune systems. Not every flu season is bad and some year, you are lucky enough to avoid the symptoms of the flu. But it’s really hard to predict in advance how bad each flu season will be — and the only way to try to protect the most vulnerable in any flu season is for as many people as possible to get the shot. A flu shot is an easy way to hedge your bet — and protect the people around you, even strangers — against a bad season. Remember every strangers is someone’s loved one.
Just like the wicked witch and the flying monkeys, you never know when Influenza will strike and if you will be thrown off a cliff like the Tin Man or dissembled like the scarecrow so protect your family, your loved one and the friends, you haven’t met yet. Who will you be protecting this flu season?