Flu also called influenza is a common viral infection that affects the lungs, nose, and throat. It is classified as contagious and brought on by seasonal changes. Its symptoms are similar to cold as both are respiratory illnesses. However, both are caused by different viruses. Unlike a cold, flu can lead to sepsis, pneumonia, and sinus & ear infections if untreated. You can visit your doctor if you are suffering from the symptoms, and he/she can quickly diagnose whether you have the flu or common cold. Young children, elders, pregnant women, and people with low immunity are prone to catch influenza.
A lot of the symptoms of flu are similar to a common cold. Flu’s onset is sudden, unlike a cold which develops slowly. Also, flu can make you feel worse than a cold.
Symptoms of influenza are listed as follows:
• Fever which is usually over 100.4 Fahrenheit or 38 degree Celsius
• Body ache
• Runny nose or nasal congestion
• Sore throat
• Dry and persistent cough
• Chills and sweats
• Constant fatigue and weakness
• In children, these symptoms can be accompanied by vomiting or diarrhoea.
Note: It is possible to suffer from the flu even if you don’t have a fever.
In most flu cases, people recover within a few days or less than two weeks. The primary treatment for flu is plenty of fluids intake and rest, which allows the body to fight the infection and recuperate. If the symptoms are bad, the doctor will prescribe antiviral medicine along with paracetamol to bring down the fever. Additionally, you can get nasal drops to clear congestion and breathe easy.
In cases of young children, elderly, pregnant women, and people suffering from low immunity, a doctor should always be consulted before self-medicating.
Prevention is better than cure. To prevent yourself from contracting influenza, you can do the following:
• Maintain distance from people who have it
• Wash your hands properly and maintain hygiene to avoid the spread of the virus
• Use a tissue to cover our mouth when you cough or sneeze and throw away the tissue. Try to avoid using handkerchiefs during flu season.
• Avoid visiting crowded places during a flu outbreak.
• If you have flu, alert others to not be in contact with you. Also, inform the people you were in touch a day before you came down with the symptoms.
• Also, to prevent influenza, vaccinations are administered to anyone who is above six months.
When To See The Doctor?
Usually, flu is non-threatening if you are healthy and young. However, if the flu bout is terrible, it can lead to complications. If someone is at high risk of contracting this illness, it can escalate to pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections, asthma flare-ups, and heart problems. Those who are at high risk are:
• People with compromised immunity such as cancer survivors, HIV/AIDS positives, and individuals on immunity suppressors.
• Young children and older people
• Pregnant women, obese individuals
• People with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, etc.