A, a, achoo! It’s cold every day these days. Have you caught a cold? I’m alright! Achoo! Influenza is going around at this time of year. If you come down with the flu, you feel the chills, very strong chills. Then you have a high fever. Mostly over 38 degrees. From 38 degrees to about 40 degrees. Then you have headaches and whole body fatigue. Also your joints hurt. These symptoms will hit you hard. After that, Symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat and cough follow. Today, I’ll tell you all what I know about influenza. And let’s all work hard for its prevention. In olden times, when do you think that the flu epidemic started? In Japan, it is said that influenza spread in the Heian period. The official history book called “Sandai Jitsuroku” says, “A lot of people died as a result of the flu epidemic.” Do you know the heroine “Yugao” of “The Tale of Genji”? It says there is a possibility that the cause of her death was actually the flu. It’s so surprising that the flu spread such a long time ago. Influenza epidemics are usually limited to winter. December-March is the so-called peak epidemic period. It is not prevalent in summer, but in winter. The reason for this is that the human immune system tends to be weaker when the temperature is low. And the influenza virus itself is vulnerable to high temperatures. Also, when it is dry, dust and droplets with viruses tend to drift in the air. If it is humid, they drop quickly. These two factors, “cold and dry” are major reasons for flu epidemics. There are many types of influenza. There are type A, type B and type C. It is generally said that type A is highly contagious and symptoms are apt to be severe. Type A has 144 waveforms, which mutate. Because of this variation/mutation, the type of influenza that spreads varies every year. Generally, type B is likely to be milder than type A. Now I’ll ask you a question! Humans and what animal can get flu type B? 1. Lion 2. Sea lion 3. Meerkat The answer is 2! Sea lion! I don’t even know why only humans and sea lions can get type B. Tee Hee. Type B only infects humans and sea lions, so it is less likely to spread than type A. The properties of type C are inherently hard to change. If a human becomes infected by the type C virus as a child and becomes immune, the immunity lasts. And then it is hard to get infected afterwards. Therefore type A poses the most difficult problem. So how can we prevent the flu? The most important prevention method is vaccination. Further general precautionary measures after being vaccinated are… Avoid crowds when the flu is epidemic. Wash your hands frequently. Wash your hands often, as contact infections are more common than you think. Also, put on a mask. It prevents contact with splashes and dust. And wearing a mask prevents the airways from drying out, because it makes the air you breathe moist. The important thing when using a mask is to throw it away once you remove it. Some people remove it, put it in their pocket and then put it on again. That’s no good. It’s meaningless because you are transferring anything that’s on your hands to the mask. Did everyone understand about the flu? During this season, when you are home, it is advisable to use a humidifier, etc. and keep the humidity at 50-70% and the room temperature at about 23-25 degrees. I want a sauna at home during this season. If I sweat a lot, I might blow away the viruses! So, everyone, prevent the flu and cold and let’s stay healthy this winter!