Flu Symptoms, Influenza Complications and Emergency Warnings: Flu or Influenza is a contagious infection which can result in fever, bodyache, sore throat and runny nose. It is caused by a group of viruses known as influenza virus. This condition can infect anyone in any age group if they come in contact with the virus. Flu resolves on its own in most patients but in some cases it can require medication and treatment.
People who have a weak immunity or long term conditions are also more susceptible to the disease. This does not lead to any serious in most patients but in some patients it can lead to the onset of some serious complications. The disease can be diagnosed by simple diagnostic tests and the patient can then be prescribed the appropriate medications.
The infection can usually resolve in about a week on its own. The disease can be prevented by getting a shot of the Influenza vaccine but it is not 100% effective against the infection. The best method to prevent an infection is to maintain proper hygiene.
Flu or Influenza
Flu is caused by an infection of the Influenza virus and it can lead to various problems in the patient such as fever, cold, sore throat, runny nose and body aches. Influenza A virus (IAV) can infect animals and sometimes humans. Influenza B virus (IBV) and C virus (ICV) mostly infect humans and Influenza D virus mostly infects cattle and pigs.
Influenza D virus (IDV) can also infect humans but ur is not known the type of infection that it results in humans. The most common mode of transmission of through droplet method meaning that the virus is present in the respiratory droplets of the person and it can infect anyone who comes in contact with the infected droplets.
The infection can be resolved through symptomatic medications and antivirals. The article below covers all the details related to the disease such as it’s symptoms, causes, rish factors, diagnostic methods, treatment and preventive measures.
Symptoms of Flu
The incubation period of the infection is usually 1 to 4 days after which the initial symptoms of the infection begins. The patient can present the following symptoms after an Influenza infection.
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Nausea and vomiting in rare cases
- Dry or wet cough
- Fatigue and malaise
- Pain in eyes
- Loss of appetite
Most cases of the infection are asymptomatic and patients only suffer from a mild fever. The infection can resolve in about 5 to 7 days.
Causes and Risk Factors of Influenza
The infection can be caused by any of the Influenza virus. A person can get infected when they come in contact with the droplets of an infected person. The following factors can increase the risk of the person to get infected.
- Age- The infection can affect anyone in any age group but it tends to produce worse symptoms in patients below the age of 5 years and over the age of 55 years.
- Environment of the person- People living in poor hygienic conditions and in stressful environments are also more susceptible to flu. Stress tends to weaken the immunity of the person.
- Existing medical conditions- People suffering from existing medical conditions tend to have weaker immunities than other people. This makes it easier for the infection to enter the system and to produce symptoms in these patients.
- Race- People living in American countries are more susceptible to an Influenza infection.
- Pregnancy- Pregnant women should take extra care in order to prevent any infections. Infections in pregnant women can affect the growing foetus and cause complications in delivery.
- Obesity- Obesity can lead to a number of problems in the patients. This can also weaken the immunity of the person can make it easier for the infections to spread in them.
- Drug abuse- Use of illegal drugs weakens the immunity and the mental state of the person. This makes it easier for them to contract various infections such as Influenza.
Diagnosis of Influenza
The diagnosis of Influenza can easily be made by examining the symptoms of the patient. However your doctor can conduct the following tests in order to rule out certain medical conditions.
- COVID-19 tests- Your doctor will take a swab from the back of your throat or nose and get it tested for the COVID-19 virus.
- Blood tests- Blood tests are also conducted to rule out other respiratory conditions such as Pneumonia, Sepsis, Encephalitis and Myocarditis. These conditions also produce symptoms similar to Flu.
- Imaging- Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scan and MRI scans in order to check the structure of the lungs and to detect any abnormality in them.
- Viral culture- Your doctor may also conduct a viral culture in your swab. This is only conducted when you’re symptoms do not improve even after medication.
Treatment of Influenza
Treatment of the Flu includes medications and other remedies to prevent the complications of the disease. You can use the following methods in order to treat the symptoms of the infection.
- Antiviral drugs- The main treatment of Influenza focuses on the use of antiviral drugs in order to remove the virus from your body. Oseltamivir, Zanamivir, Peramivir and Lainamivir are the commonly used drugs for the treatment of Flu.
- Plenty of fluids- The patient is advised to drink plenty of fluids in order to prevent dehydration due the disease. This also helps in the recovery of the patient.
- Rest- The patient should take adequate rest in order to recover from the disease. The symptoms of the disease resolve in their own within a week of infection.
- Painkillers- Some patients may be prescribed painkillers to deal with headaches and bodyache. The most commonly used medications for this purpose is Paracetamol.
- Decongestants- These drugs are prescribed to patients who have congestion in their chest and nose. These medications work to reduce this congestion but they have some side effects and you should take care while taking them.
- Expectorants- This medication is prescribed in order to loosen thick sinus secretions and to open the clogged sinuses of the patient.
- Cough suppressants- These medications are prescribed to patients who suffer from persistent cough. These work by suppressing the irritation of the throat and this reducing the urge to cough.
Prevention of Influenza
The disease can be prevented by following the methods given below.
- Wash your hands regularly- You should wash your hands regularly in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses in your home. Teach your children to always wash their hands before eating anything.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes- Always cover up your sneezes with a handkerchief or your elbow in order to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets to another person.
- Avoid touching you face- Do not touch your face and mouth without washing your hands so that the bacteria does not enter your body and your bloodstream.
- Maintain proper hygiene- You should always keep your environment and your surroundings clean so that the bacteria or viruses do not grow there.
- Avoid crowded places- Always avoid close contact with others and crowded places as you can easily get infected in these places. You never know who is a carrier of an infection in these situations.
FAQs Related to Influenza or Flu
Flu or Influenza is a contagious infection which can result in fever, bodyache, sore throat and runny nose. It is caused by a group of viruses known as influenza virus. This condition can infect anyone in any age group if they come in contact with the virus.
There are 4 types of viruses based on who they infect. Influenza A virus (IAV) can infect animals and sometimes humans. Influenza B virus (IBV) and C virus (ICV) mostly infect humans and Influenza D virus mostly infects cattle and pigs.
An Influenza infection lasts for about 6 to 10 days but this time period can vary depending on the condition and immunity of the patient.