What is Influenza?

The flu is also scientifically known as influenza and is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by viruses. The influenza virus usually enters into the mucous membranes through the mouth, nose or even eyes. Every time a person with the virus sneezes or coughs, the virus can become airborne and then possibly infect other people nearby if inhaled.

What are the symptoms of flu?

Influenza symptoms can vary from people to people and may be strikingly similar to a common cold, but only more severe. It is important for people to know if they have a flu infection since the time that it can be diagnosed by the doctor, the better the chances to prevent it from possibly infecting someone else. It is important that people know how to look for telltale flu symptoms in order to know if they do are infected.

Flu symptoms usually appear about one to three days after being infected by the virus. The symptoms may appear suddenly. Flu is usually associated with the sudden feeling of weakness and fatigue. One of the common symptoms of the flu is an unusually high fever. The fever may be accompanied by headaches and chills. People infected with the flu virus may also feel their muscles ache as well as experience extreme tiredness without much reason.

After a while, people infected with the flu may also experience having a dry cough to go with their fever. A runny nose as well as other stomach symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea may also be experienced although such symptoms are more common in children than in adults. It is important to note that a person with flu may or may not exhibit all of the symptoms provided. Exhibiting one or two symptoms given may be enough to head out to the doctor’s clinic.

Treatment of flu?

There are many treatments available for the flu. The most effective treatment remains to be antiviral drugs. They can be used either before infection of the flu or as treatment within a few days after contracting the virus. What makes antiviral dugs so effective is that they attack the flu virus and stop it from spreading to the rest of the body. But its effectivity depends on using it within the two days after the onset of the flu symptoms.

Over the counter treatments for flu usually target easing the symptoms instead of fighting the infection itself. Analgesics, antihistamines and cough medicine are the usual over the counter drugs being used. They are meant to ease the discomfort that people with the flu experience and not to treat the infection itself. It is important that one should first consult with a doctor even before using such drugs since they might also have some undesirable side effects to the body.

Flu vaccines are used as a treatment way before a person may contract the virus. Flu shots are usually given as a preventive measure for contracting influenza. These vaccines are usually composed of dead influenza virus that is introduced into the body for it to develop antibodies to protect against any future flu infection. But these vaccines are only effective up to a year due to the high mutation rate of the virus year after year. A flu vaccine this year may not protect you from the flu virus on the next.