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Flu: Question and Answers

By on March 8, 2012 in Diseases, Health, Prevention with 0 Comments

What is flu?

Flu or influenza is a disease caused by virus that attacks the respiratory tract. Affected patients feel high fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, dry cough, conjunctival congestion and weakness. Pulmonary complications can also be there. Flu is often confused with the common cold, which has only local symptoms.

Outbreaks of this disease appear every year, especially in winter and spring.

How is the disease transmitted?

The flu virus is highly infectious and therefore highly transmissible, it spreads easily from person to person by respiratory secretions or droplets from coughs and sneezes, but may also be transmitted by hands.

What are the symptoms of flu?

The most characteristic symptoms of influenza are:

  • Malaise
  • Fever
  • Sleepiness
  • Cough and / or sneezing
  • Nasal packing
  • Joint pain

Most people also develop irritation (redness) throat and headache. It is also common to have a runny nose and sneezing. These symptoms, except cough, usually disappear within 4 to 7 days and sometimes there is a second wave of fever at the time. The cough and tiredness usually last for weeks after the rest of the illness is over.

Some people confuse colds with influenza because they share some of the same symptoms and are presented in the same season (season of colds and flu). However, the two diseases are very different. Most people have a cold several times a year and the flu only once every year for every few years.

What is the treatment?

For influenza requires symptomatic treatment for malaise, fever. The cough usually goes away by itself and so cough suppressants are not indicated.

For mild cases of the disease in people who are at high risk, you should take the following measures:

  • Stand.
  • Taking medications to relieve symptoms and help you rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid aspirin (especially teens and children)
  • Avoid consumption of snuff and alcohol.
  • Avoid antibiotics unless necessary for another condition.

If influenza is detected within 48 hours after symptom onset, particularly in groups at high risk for complications, you can have some antiviral medications that can decrease the duration of these symptoms in about 1 day .

What are the complications?

Complications of influenza are very common particularly in patients with pre-existing diseases such as diabetes or lung disease, in these cases the most frequent complication is pneumonia.

Anyone at any age can have serious complications from the flu, but those most at risk include:

  • People over 50 years.
  • Children 6 to 23 months.
  • Women more than 3 months pregnant during flu season.
  • Anyone living in nursing homes or long term boarding.
  • Anyone with chronic heart, lung or kidney conditions, diabetes or have a weakened immune system.

How is it prevented?

The most effective way to protect against influenza is vaccination.

This vaccine should be applied preferably before winter, between January and May.

When should you get vaccinated?

Vaccination should be done every year since the virus strains change regularly. The ability of the virus to mutate requires the annual formulation of the vaccine. WHO is responsible for informing each year which are the infecting virus and the vaccines are prepared based on these particulars.

The flu vaccine has proved highly effective and well tolerated, the protection is for one year and applies from 6 months old.

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