Flu or influenza is also known as seasonal flu and it is a respiratory disease. It is highly contagious and it is different from cold.
Here are three types of influenza virus:
- Influenza A
- Influenza B
- Influenza C
Influenza A and B cause seasonal flu and they occur seasonally in the environment. Influenza C causes mild respiratory illness and is not as a result of seasonal outbreaks.
The symptoms of both the flu and cold are more or less the same. They include a blocked or runny nose, sore throat and cough. But flu can be deadly and its treatment MUST be taken and should not be taken for granted. Below are some of the symptoms of flu which differentiates it from cold:
- High temperature
- Pain in joints and limbs
- Cold sweats
It is quite possible that you face one of the above symptoms in flu.
Flu is caused by a virus so antibiotics are enough to treat it successfully. Painkillers can also be prescribed for headache. People who have flu should:
- Avoid contact with people whenever it is a possibility
- Keep warm and rest
- Have plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
- Stay at home
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Eat and should not have low appetite as this drains the energy.
When to see a doctor?
A doctor’s visit becomes necessary if:
- The individual is elderly
- Temperature remains high for 4 to 5 days
- Symptoms worsen
- Individual feels that he is seriously sick
- The person experiences shortness of breath or develop chest pain
Flu is not serious in the beginning and may just have an uncomfortable feeling. But, there can be severe complications in elderly people, young children and babies. People who are at risk of developing complications through flu are:
- Elderly people above the age of 65
- Babies, infants and young children
- Pregnant ladies
- People with heart disease
- Patients who have asthma or bronchitis
- People with kidney disease
- Diabetic people
- People who are taking steroids either for medical purposes or otherwise
- People who are undergoing the treatment for cancer
- People who have weak immune system.
Some complications which arise because of the influenza virus include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of conditions like heart diseases, asthma or diabetes.
Seasonal flu vaccinations are available for people who are more prone to the disease or even a healthy person. This shot should be taken every year. Protection from the flu begins after about two weeks of having the shot.
Who should not have flu shots?
Before opting for a flu shot, read below to see if you have any one of the conditions. If you have:
- Allergy to chicken eggs
- Have previously had a reaction to the flu vaccine
- Have developed Guillain Barre Syndrome after taking the flu shot
- Children under 6 months
- Fever, wait for the condition to be cured.