Flu or Influenza – A Viral Disease

Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” is an illness caused by RNA viruses that infect the respiratory tract of many animals, birds, and humans. Influenza, or the “flu,” is an illness of the breathing system (respiratory system) and muscles caused by a virus.

Causes of Flu

Influenza A usually occurs in early winter and early spring. Influenza B can appear at any time of the year. H1N1, or Swine Flu, is another type of Influenza. Most people catch the flu when they breathe in tiny droplets from coughs or sneezes of someone who has the flu. It is also spread when you touch a something with the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. Symptoms appear 1 – 7 days later (usually within 2 – 3 days). The flu spreads easily. It often strikes a community all at once. Students or workers become sick within 2 or 3 weeks of the flu’s arrival in a school or workplace. Sometimes people confuse colds and flu. They do share some of the same symptoms. Most people get a cold several times each year. But they usually get the flu once every few years.

Symptoms of Flu

The first symptoms are a fever between 102 and 106 °F. The infection results in the person getting fever, cough, headache, and malaise (tired, no energy); some people also may develop a sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Then breathing symptoms begin to increase. The symptom is usually not a dry cough. Most people also develop a sore throat and headache. Runny nose and sneezing are common. It is a clear, watery nasal discharge.

Treatment of Flu

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) help lower fever. Sometimes doctors suggest you use both types of medicine. Do NOT Use Aspirin. A fever does not need to come all the way down to normal. Most people will feel better when their temperature drops by even 1 degree. Over-the-counter cold medicines may make some of your symptoms better. Cough drops will help with your sore throat.

A vaccine is available to prevent the flu, its effectiveness varies according to the degree of match between the viral strains used to prepare the vaccine and those strains actually in circulation in a given year.

Should see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms and you:-

  1. are 65 or over
  2. are pregnant
  3. have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney or neurological disease
  4. have a weakened immune system

 How Long does Flu lasts?

The typical course of the flu is seven to ten days.” While you’re waiting for the virus to pass, prevent it from getting worse by drinking plenty of fluids, washing hands frequently, and eating vitamin D-fortified foods like orange juice and yogurt.

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