According to the CDC, influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The illnesses range from mild to severe. In some cases, it results in the death of the victims or hospitalizations in acute care units. The risk of getting influenza infection differs based on age. Older people and children are at a high risk of getting infected because of their fragile immune systems. Currently, the best protection against influenza is vaccination (Grohskopf, et al., 2013). The effect if infection on individuals also differs. Some people might show mild flu symptoms and recover within weeks. However, some individuals might get hospitalized and be put under acute care. Symptoms include coughs, sore throat, chills, runny nose, body aches, headaches, fatigues, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea (FDA, 2014). For adverse infections, patients often develop complications. The complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections. It also worsens chronic health problems such as heart disease, asthma, liver disorders, and metabolic disorders among others. People that are at risk of getting infected include older individuals aged 64 and above, children below the age of five, and pregnant women and people that live in nursing homes (FDA, 2014).
The unpredictable nature of flu makes it hard to control. The severity of the illness varies from season to season. Nonetheless, scientists base extent of severity on factors such as the availability of vaccines, the nature of the virus, the number of individuals vaccinated, and the match of the vaccine to the flu virus. Statistics shows that between 1976 and 2006, the U.S recorded deaths between a low of 3,000 to a high of 49,000 from influenza complications (Grohskopf, et al., 2013). Additionally, 80 to 90 percent of flu-related deaths occurred in older people aged 65 years and older (PCAST, 2009). This shows that scientists need to develop vaccines that will help older individuals reduce the risk of developing flu-related complications……………..