Flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and, sometimes, the lungs. Strictly monitoring the numbers, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that this year’s flu outbreak can be the most severe in over a decade. And while numbers are vague in the Philippines, this disease is an ever-present danger in the country.

Among the four strains of Influenza, viruses A and B circulate and cause seasonal epidemics. However, in tropical countries like the Philippines, outbreaks are irregular and are occurring throughout the year.

The symptoms of flu are often mistaken for that of a common cold. While these two diseases have similar manifestations, a common cold is milder than flu.

Complications of flu can lead to bacterial infections, pneumonia and even hospitalization.

Signs of flu, which are rare with a common cold, are headaches, body pains and fever.

Most doctors advise patients who have already experienced flu to still to get vaccinated as the yearly strains vary. The Department of Health Cordillera has already cautioned the public to take precautionary measures as they have seen a spike in influenza-like illness for the first quarter of this year.

With a record of almost 500 cases more than last year’s in Cordillera alone, this infectious disease should be a health priority for Filipinos.