Influenza or Flu Virus – Know in details about this
The influenza is also known as “Flu”. Influenza is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract that does infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Confusing Influenza or flu virus with a bad cold is common. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Adults are contagious 1-2 days before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year.
Most people who get the flu recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Flu viruses are divided into three types, designated A, B, and C. A and B are responsible for epidemics of respiratory illness that occur almost every winter and are often associated with increased rates for hospitalization and death & C infection usually causes either a very mild respiratory illness or without any symptoms. Flu viruses continually change over time.
Influenza or Flu virus Sign & Symptoms:
- High temperature (usually 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit in adults and often even higher in children)
- Cold sweats and shivers
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Fatigue, feeling exhausted
- Aching joints and limbs
- Although nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can sometimes accompany the flu
Emergency warning signs & symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Extreme vomiting
- Flu symptoms that improve but then relapse with a high fever and severe cough (can be bacterial pneumonia)
- Fever and rash etc.
Transmission of Influenza or Flu virus :
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. It spread through direct transmission (when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person); the airborne route (when someone inhales the aerosols produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting) and through hand-to-nose, hand-to-eye, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a handshake.
Diagnosis: Rapid Molecular Assay (RIDTs), when an upper respiratory tract specimen (mucus) is taken using a nasal swab or a nasopharyngeal swab. It should be done within 3–4 days of symptom onset, as upper respiratory viral shedding takes a downward spiral after that. There are several more-accurate and sensitive flu tests available that must be performed.
Treatment of Influenza or Flu virus:
As the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot help, unless the flu has led to another illness caused by bacteria. The two classes of antiviral drugs used against influenza are neuraminidase inhibitors (Oseltamivir, Zanamivir, and Peramivir) and M2 protein inhibitors (Adamantane derivatives).
Painkillers can alleviate some of the symptoms, such as a headache and body pains. Various painkillers are available to purchase online. It is important to compare different products, and only take them under the advice of a medical professional. Some painkillers, such as aspirin, should not be given to children under 12 without doctors advice.
Individuals with flu should:
- Take rest & stay at home
- Keep warm and rest
- Avoid contact with other people where possible
- Consume plenty of liquids
- Avoid alcohol & tobacco
It is a good idea for people that live alone to tell a relative, friend, or neighbor that they have flu and make sure someone can check in on them.
- Vaccination- The influenza vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization. In those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease vaccination reduces exacerbations
- Infection control: Control by direct transmission, the airborne route & by hand.