What is influenza ?
Influenza is commonly known as flu. It is a viral infection of the respiratory system. Flu is caused by different strains of viruses and attacks the nose , throat and lungs. The virus is constantly changing so medications to treat flu are also being constantly improved to attack new strains of emerging virus. Flu is highly contagious.
How does the flu virus spread ?
The virus travels as droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. You can get the virus when you touch your mouth, nose or eyes after hand to hand contact with an infected person or touching an infected surface or objects.
What are the symptoms ?
Symptoms of influenza mimic that of common cold . Flu is however more severe and the onset is sudden. They include
- dry cough
- body and muscle ache
- sore throat
- nasal congestion
Am I at risk ?
If you fall into this group, you are highly susceptible to flu.
- people with low immune system like HIV patients
- children and the elderly
- pregnant women
- health care workers and child care workers
Are there any treatment option for flu ?
Flu usually resolves on its own. However you need to drinks lots of fluids and get enough rest.
You may also take pain medications such as Tylenol for aches and pains.
Nasal strips can reduce congestion.
Use a humidifier to make breathing easier.
How can I protect myself from flu ?
The best way to protect yourself from influenza is through annual flu vaccination. The vaccine protects you against three flu viruses.
You may also take the following precautions.
Wash your hands frequently and using alcohol based hand sanitizer.
Cough and sneeze in a tissue and dispose it of right away.
Avoid large crowds
Influenza flu . The Nemours Foundation . http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/lung/flu.html. Accessed June 13, 2014
Influenza. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/influenza/. Accessed June 13, 2014