COVID-19 Alert The symptoms of Influenza and coronavirus are quite similar. Both these infections are caused by viruses and lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath and cold. However, no scientific reports show a connection between both the medical conditions. Although it has to be noted that patients with Influenza are at more risk of being affected by the coronavirus. So, stay at home, wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth while coughing and sneezing. Also, try avoiding touching your mouth and eyes, particularly when you are a patient of Influenza. And in case the symptoms persist, connect with our team of health professionals via video call. Talk to the doctor and discuss your symptoms. They will help you provide an effective Influenza treatment plan.
Influenza is a common infectious disease that makes rounds every couple of months and circulates all over the world. It is an acute respiratory infection. It is the most common type of illness affecting the masses. This viral infection attacks the respiratory system i.e. the nose, throat, and lungs. It is also called the flu and can usually resolve on its own. But, there are certain cases in which complications can cause fatalities. It is a contagious disease but usually, people recover in about less than two weeks. Another thing that people often get confused with is the reason why antibiotics are not the answer when it comes to the flu. It is because the source of the issue is a virus, not a bacteria.
In the beginning, the flu shows all the same symptoms that a common cold shows: a runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing. But whereas as colds develop very slowly, the onset of flu is a lot more sudden. Colds are also usually milder than flu. People who have a cold are more inclined to develop a stuffy or runny nose. And yes having a cold is quite a nuisance but if you catch the flu you will feel much worse.Some common symptoms and signs of the flu include
Most people who catch the flu recover within a few days to less than two weeks. But some people do manage to develop complications because of the flu, which sometimes can end up being life-threatening.Some moderate complications include sinus and ear infection. Whereas pneumonia is a very serious flu complication that either comes into play because of the influenza virus or if there is a co-infection of bacteria and flu virus. Other complications include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain(encephalitis), or muscle (rhabdomyolysis, myositis), and in extreme cases multi-organ failure. When the flu manages to take over the respiratory tract an extreme inflammatory in the body can take place. This then leads to sepsis, the body’s last line of defense as a response to the infection. Flu can also aggravate chronic medical conditions.
It is very easy to catch the flu. Even healthy people manage to catch it. Also, there is no age associated with the problems related to flu. But certain groups are still more at risk than others. So, what are the conditions under which your risk of catching influenza increases?
Seasonal Influenza is more prevalent in children younger than 12 months and on the other extreme, adults who are over the age of 65
People who live and work in facilities that house a large number of people like military barracks and nursing homes are more at risk to develop influenza. People who are already hospitalized are also at a higher risk.
People undergoing cancer treatment, taking anti-rejection drugs, long term steroids, blood cancer, organ transplant, or HIV/AIDS have weaker immune systems. This makes them more susceptible to catching influenza and related complications.
Chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, neurological/neurodevelopmental disease, an airway abnormality, kidney/liver/blood disease, diabetes, all of these can increase your chances of catching influenza.
People under the age of 19 who have been receiving long term aspirin therapy are at the risk of developing complications like Reye’s syndrome if they catch influenza.
Pregnant women can develop influenza complications a lot faster especially if they are in their second and third trimester. Women who are in two weeks postpartum are also susceptible to influenza and all related complications.
People who have a body mass index(BMI) of 40 or more have more chances of developing complications related to the flu.
When you go to the doctor for figuring out the signs and symptoms of influenza, they will first run a physical exam, after which if they spot signs they might order the test that detects influenza. When the seasonal influenza is doing the rounds you might not even be tested. Your doctor may just diagnose you on the basis of your symptoms and signs. In certain cases, when a doctor feels that further tests are required then a test may be run. There are various tests that diagnose influenza. The polymerase chain reaction test is one of the common kind. This testing is a lot more sensitive and can easily help identify the influenza strain that is troubling you.
There are various ways through which the flu makes its way around. But the most common is by the tiny droplets made when a person who already has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets then land in the noses or mouths of people who are nearby. At times people even get infected with the flu when they touch a surface or object that harbors the flu virus on it and then they proceed to touch their own nose, mouth or even their eyes at time
For The Uncomplicated Seasonal Influenza If the patient does not fall into a high-risk group they are managed by administering symptomatic treatment and if they are symptomatic they are asked to stay at home in order to minimize the risk of infecting others in and around their community. The administered treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of the flu, like fever. Patients are required to monitor themselves to check if their condition worsens and in the chance that it does, it is important that they seek medical attention.
If you have a severe or progressive clinical illness along with influenza then you need to be treated with antivirals as soon as possible. The first medication to be prescribed is the Neuraminidase inhibitors(oseltamivir). This needs to be prescribed as soon as possible (usually within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms) to maximize the therapeutic benefits from the drug. Administration can also be considered for patients who present symptoms later in the course of illness. The usual course of the treatment is for a minimum of 5 days, but this can be extended depending on the rate of improvement. Corticosteroids should be avoided on a routine basis unless they are being used for other reasons( asthma and other conditions); as they have long been associated with prolonged viral clearance, immunosuppression that can lead to bacterial or fungal superinfection. All the current influenza strains circulating around the globe are resistant to adamantane antiviral drugs(amantadine and rimantadine) and so, are not the recommended course of action to be followed for monotherapy.
One of the most effective ways of preventing the flu is vaccination. Effective and safe vaccines have been around for more than 60 years. Immunity from the vaccination deteriorates over time. So, it is recommended that one gets an annual vaccination to protect themselves from the influenza. The most common type of vaccination used is the injected inactivated type. It is widely available and used as well. When it comes to healthy adults, influenza vaccine provides protection and even when the circulating strain does not exactly match the vaccine virus. However, an issue arises when the question is about the elderly. The influenza vaccine is a little less effective in prevention but it does help in reducing the severity of the disease and lowers incidences of any kind of additional complications or death. Vaccine is essential for people who fall into one of the risk groups for influenza complications and for people who care for or live with people who are at high risk.Recommendations For Annual Vaccination
Apart from the standard vaccination and antiviral treatment, there are other public health management and personal protective measures one can take.
If you do get the flu then you can take various measures to help ease some of your symptoms.
It is important that you keep yourself hydrated. Drink water, warm soups, and juice to prevent dehydration.
It is important that you get some sleep to help your immune system fight the infection. You might have to change your activity level depending on what symptoms you are showing
You can use over- the- counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen(Advil, Motrin, etc), to combat the problems associated with influenza. Children and teens who exhibit flu-like symptoms should avoid taking aspirin as there is a chance they might counteract Reye’s syndrome, a rare but fatal condition.
As mentioned above an influenza vaccine is not 100% effective, so it is essential that one takes some measures to help reduce the chance of infection.
Frequent and thorough hand-washing is an important and effective way to prevent the spread of many common infections. If you can’t find any soap and water around, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Respiratory hygiene is essential if you want to contain the spread of this infection. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. To avoid contaminating your hands, sneeze or cough into the inner crook of your elbow or into a tissue.
Being healthy is not a one-off situation, you need to practice good health habits on a daily basis to truly be healthy. Clean and disinfect all your frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis. Get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
The flu quickly spreads wherever there is a large crowd of people. Child care centers, office buildings, schools, public transportation, and auditoriums are all potential hotspots for the transmission of the flu. If you avoid crowds during peak flu season, you significantly reduce the chances of contracting the infection. If you are sick then it is advised that you stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided so that you do not end up infecting others.