The impact that influenza pandemics have had in the past is not something that should be underestimated when assessing current situations and issues in order to determine what sort of health risk they may pose. Influenza strains that are indigenous to avian species have, at times, mutated to become a direct health threat to humans. The relative lack of antigens and immunity that the human population may have for such strains has allowed them to create critical health issues and a number of pandemics responsible for millions of deaths. Learning more about this issue, and the steps that are being taken to address it, can be an important concern for anyone who may be at risk to new and more virulent strains of influenza.
The flu is not one disease that needs to be treated in order for patients to recover; rather it is a blanket term that encompasses a number of active and past strains of virus. Flu seasons seem to fluctuate in severity each year as a result of which strains are more prevalent at the time. The greater potential dangers found in strains that have not infected humans in the past is a result of our immune system’s inability to manage a new and unprecedented pathogen, one that we have had little or no exposure to in the past.
Risks Posed by Avian Flu
Bird flu is not a new threat to public health, as there have been a number of flu strains that have mutated from carrier species to carrier species in the past, often with disastrous results. While medical technology may have grown in leaps and bounds since the most serious influenza pandemics, the greater global population and more frequent travel seen in the modern world may serve to nullify such advances. While there is still some contention among the medical community regarding the degree and urgency of this risk, discounting it completely could prove to be a very large mistake.
New Vaccines and Treatments
Vaccines being developed to address this issue and reduce the risks of a bird flu outbreak have many potential advantages. By studying viral strains that seem likely to become a threat to humans, it may be possible to produce a vaccine that will be effective in preventing the spread of this disease before such concerns become more immediate problems. Efforts to develop, manufacture, and stockpile a sufficient supply of effective vaccines may prove to be the single most effective tool in addressing the health risks of an outbreak.
Basic Steps and Precautions
Frequent hand washing, avoiding flu sufferers, and taking basic precautions that millions use to stay safe each flu season can be an important way to address this issue as well. Discounting the potential benefit and value of even the most basic prevention methods may find influenza outbreaks, regional epidemics, and even global pandemics impossible to avoid or manage successfully. Doing all you can to protect yourself and your health can involve the same basic efforts that you would expect to make use of to avoid any cold, flu, or other airborne illness.
Darryl Drake is a freelance writer who focuses on health, medicine, medical science, nutritional science, disease prevention, emergency care, nursing education and other kindred topics. Those interested in learning more about quality medical care should visit Prime Urgent Care right away.