Influenza is an acute respiratory disease caused by influenza virus. Although the symptoms are usually mild for many people, certain groups, such as children, older adults, and pregnant women, are at higher risk of serious complications.
Children: Susceptible and Transmitters
Children, especially those under the age of 5, are especially vulnerable to influenza. Dr. Carlos Martínez, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist, said, “Children’s immune systems are still developing, making them more susceptible to serious infections. In addition, children are effective transmitters of the virus, in part because of their hygiene practices and Being in close proximity to other children.
Older adults: Age complicates immune response
People over the age of 65 are also at high risk. “In older adults, the immune system becomes less efficient, known as immunosenescence. This reduces their ability to fight off influenza viruses and increases the likelihood of complications such as pneumonia,” Dr. Martinez said.
Pregnancy: Protecting Two Lives
Pregnant women are another high-risk group. Dr. Martinez explained, “Physical changes during pregnancy make women more susceptible to flu-related complications. In addition, sick mothers are at risk of premature birth and the virus affecting the fetus.
Prevention: Vaccination is the first line of defense
For these high-risk groups, prevention is crucial. An annual flu shot is the most effective preventive measure. “The flu vaccine is especially important for high-risk groups. It not only reduces the likelihood of contracting the disease, but also reduces the severity of the infection,” emphasizes Dr. Martinez.
The importance of vaccination at the community level
In addition to individual protection, vaccination has benefits at the community level. Vaccination of children can reduce the spread of the virus to others, including at-risk members of the community. This is known as herd immunity or herd immunity.
Supplementary Conservation Actions
Dr. Martinez also emphasized the importance of other preventive measures: “Regular and proper hand hygiene, wearing a mask during an influenza outbreak, and keeping sick children at home are effective strategies to reduce the spread of the virus.”
*Note: Dr. Carlos Martinez is a fictional character created for this article, and his statements synthesize general medical knowledge as of the 2021 deadline.