Tips for influenza prevention | Updated: 2022-12-01
What is influenza
Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that include A(H3N2) subtype A, A(H1N1) pdm09, B/Victoria lineage and B/Yamagata lineage.
What are the symptoms of influenza
The main symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, malaise (feeling unwell), body temperature up to 39℃ to 40℃, and fever in children is normally more severe than that in adults. Influenza can also cause constitutional symptoms such as chills, shivering, muscle and joint pain and weakness. These symptoms are usually accompanied by a sore throat and cough, as well as nasal obstruction, a runny nose, blushing, eye conjunctival congestion, and so on. 
How do influenza viruses spread 
Influenza viruses mainly spread by respiratory droplets as well as direct or indirect contact of mouth and nasal mucosa, for example by hand-to-mouth contact where the hand has touched an contaminated item. 
Who is vulnerable to influenza viruses
All age groups are generally vulnerable to influenza viruses but some are more at risk than others:
The elderly over 65;
Children under 5, especially children under 2;
Pregnant and lying-in women;
Patients with underlying diseases.
China's influenza vaccines
Vaccinating against influenza every year is the most effective way to prevent influenza, and can greatly reduce the risks of getting influenza and developing serious complications. Protective-level antibodies are usually produced two to four weeks after influenza vaccination. China’s influenza vaccines include the inactivated influenza vaccine and the live attenuated influenza vaccine. 
There are the trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV3) and the quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV4) in the category of inactivated influenza vaccine. Both vaccines are equally safe for people aged six months and above. The influenza virus subunit vaccine is a high-purity vaccine based on the influenza split vaccine, and is suitable for people at or above 6 months of age. 
The live attenuated influenza vaccine is administered by an intranasal spray method. The trivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV3) is suitable for people aged 3 to 17. 
Priority groups for influenza vaccination 
1.Medical staff including clinical medical personnel, public health personnel and health and quarantine personnel
2.Participants and support personnel of large-scale activities
3.Vulnerable people and employees in elderly care facilities, welfare homes and crowd-gathering places.
4.Teachers and students in kindergartens, nurseries, primary and middle schools, as well as inmates and staff at correctional and detention facilities.
5. Other people at high risk for influenza, including people at or above 60, children aged 6 months to 5 years old and patients with chronic diseases.
6. Family members and caregivers of infants under one month as well as pregnant women.
Is it necessary to receive influenza vaccination every year? How much protection does it provide?
Since the influenza viruses keep mutating, people should be vaccinated every year. As with many other vaccines, receiving influenza vaccination does not necessarily mean people won’t get influenza, but it can alleviate the symptoms of influenza and significantly reduce the risk of developing severe symptoms. The purpose of influenza prevention and control is to avoid severe illness and death.
Are influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine interchangeable?
What are the nonpharmaceutical interventions to prevent influenza?
Keeping good personal hygiene habits is an important means to prevent respiratory infections such as influenza, for example, washing hands frequently, keeping the room ventilated, avoiding visiting crowded places, and avoiding rubbing eyes, mouth and nose with hands in public places. Keep a regular rhythm of work and rest, maintain balanced nutrition intake, and avoid overwork to maintain good immunity, and wear a mask when you go to medical institutions.