Influenza, generally known as “flu”, is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus including type A virus, type B virus, type C virus, and Thogotovirus. Flu’s symptoms can be mild to severe, whereas the most common symptoms are high fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, coughing, muscle pains, sneezing, and feeling tired. These symptoms begin within two days after exposure of the virus with the human body and most last less than a week. With these symptoms, the flue also has some complications such as viral pneumonia, sinus infections, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and worsening of previous health problems such as heart failure or asthma.
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Throughout the past few years, the public has become intensely aware of the threat of emerging infectious diseases with the worldwide spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the threat of bioterrorism, the discovery of human cases of monkeypoxin, and the proliferation of West Nile virus. If we see in the past, in 2003, highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza virus the H7N7 and H5N1, again crossed from birds to humans and caused fatal disease.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms of the flu than you need to consult a physician or a general practitioner.
Some subtypes of the Influenza A, usually called Bird flu (H5N1 and H7N9 viruses) and Swine flu (H1N1 virus) have caused serious infections in human, which have sometimes resulted in death.
Flu may not always be considered of by most people as a serious illness, its symptoms of a runny nose, cough, headaches, and muscle pain can confuse people it with a heavy cold. Yet according to the World Health Organization (WHO), seasonal influenza kills up to 650 000 people every year. Hence, influenza vaccinations are very important, particularly to protect young children, older people, pregnant women, or people who have vulnerable immune systems.
What are the Symptoms of Influenza?
The most common symptoms of flu include:
- Pain in the muscles
- Throat pain
- A cough
- Body ache
- High fever
- Loss of appetite
- Running nose
- Chest congestion
- Muscle pains
What are the Causes of Influenza?
Influenza is an infectious disease, which means it can be easily spread from person to person. Those viruses that cause influenza spread mainly by droplets of respiratory fluids transmitted through the air from person to person, like if someone infected with the virus sneezes or coughs, when other people inhale the airborne virus and become infected.
The flu virus can live on any surfaces for like up to 24 hours which means in some cases, the flu can be spread when a healthy person touches a surface or a thing, like a table, cell phone, and a door, that has the virus and then touches his mouth, nose, or eyes. The flu is most quickly spread in crowded places like offices and schools. The influenza virus mainly has three families including A, B, and C. The type A influenza models the most serious problems among humans causing 95% of cases.
How You Can Diagnose Influenza?
To diagnose the flu, the healthcare provider or doctors simply swipe the inside of your mouth or nose with a swab and sends the swab for lab testing. There is no requirement of a blood test for diagnosing influenza, though, at times, doctors suggest blood tests for checking any other form of infection present in the body apart from influenza.
Is There Any Kind of Influenza Vaccines Available?
Yes, there is some type of vaccines that are helpful in preventing the flu, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this vaccination against influenza helps in reducing sickness due to the flu, hospitalizations as well as deaths.
CDC in association with the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recommends yearly vaccination to groups including the elderly, pregnant women, children between 6 months and 5 years of age, healthcare worker, and those are having health problems.
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What are the Complications of Influenza?
Complications of influenza flu include;
- Ear infections
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions, like cancer, asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and liver, kidney, or lung disease
Some complications related to Swine flu include;
Some complications related to Bird flu include;
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Organ failure
- Abdominal cramps
- Lung failure
- Sometimes death
What are the Treatments Options Available for Influenza?
Well, the main treatment for influenza or the flu is to drink plenty of water or fluid and take plenty of rest, the doctor may prescribe an infected some antiviral medications or drugs which helps in reducing the risk of complications that may arise from the flu.
What are Some Home Remedies for Treating Influenza?
There are some home remedies that are effective in treating home remedies including;
- Drinking a lot of lukewarm water.
- Having 3-4 raw garlic cloves because it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
- Taking herbal teas or green tea like lemon tea, cinnamon tea, chamomile tea, and ginger tea for increasing the resistant power of the body.
- Taking proper rest.
- Using onion and ginger mix for treating infections of the respiratory tract, cold, cough, and bronchitis.
- Taking hot soups, especially the chicken soup that helps in alleviating the symptoms of influenza.
- Taking Vitamin C that helps in restoring the body’s natural immune system to fight the external bacteria and virus.
Well, it seems that influenza (flu) is a small problem, but if the flu left untreated then it will become some major problem that can also cause death also. If you feel or see symptoms related to it, then you should visit your doctor and take proper rest with prescribed medicines. You can also try home remedies for mild flu.
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