Updated: September 18, 2017
Influenza, also known as "the flu", is an is a respiratory illness caused by an influenza virus. It is an infectious disease and is normally spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person.
Often Flu and common cold are confused as both of them have symptoms including a runny/blocked nose, sore throat, and cough. Flu symptoms are usually worse than a cold and last longer. To differentiate between a bad cold and flu
you need to look for the below symptoms:
Some gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are much more common among children than adults.
It usually takes 1 to 4 days to get symptoms of the flu after you are infected and it can take 1 to 2 weeks to get completely better.
There are three types of flu viruses namely influenza A, influenza B, and influenza C. Types A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics in every winter that occurs in United States and Europe virtually . The type C influenza virus causes mild respiratory illness and is not responsible for outbreaks.
Usually the virus is spread through the air from coughs or sneezes mostly over relatively short distances. It can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces by the virus and then touching your mouth or eyes.
Some examples of flu caused by influenza A virus are:
By physical examination and analyzing the symptoms, the doctor will diagnose flu. To find out what type of flu virus you have, the doctor may do a blood test or take a sample of fluid from your nose or throat .
As flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not used for the treatment, unless the flu has led to another illness caused by bacteria.
Painkillers or paracetamol can relieve some of the symptoms, such as headache and body pains. Antivirals, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), may be prescribed in some cases. People with the flu are advised to
Flu is not serious in the majority of cases. But flu can worsen chronic health problems in few cases. People with emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma may experience shortness of breath while they have the flu.
Influenza may cause worsening of coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure.
People over 65 years old, pregnant women, very young children and people of any age with chronic medical conditions are more likely to get complications from influenza, such as bronchitis,pneumonia, sinus, and ear infections.
Get a yearly flu vaccine to help prevent flu. There are two types of vaccinations that include the flu shot and the nasal spray flu vaccine.
The flu shot is given with a needle, usually in the arm . It is suitable for anyone older than 6 months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine is a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that you breathe in through your nose.
You should not get the nasal spray if you:
Even if a flu vaccine does not prevent the flu, it can reduce the severity of flu symptoms and decrease the risk of complications.
Some effective ways to reduce the transmission of influenza include good personal health and hygiene habits such as: