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Every year there is a widespread outbreak of the Flu, causing respiratory illness. The flu can strike anyone, but is especially bad for the aged, the very young, or anyone with heart, lung, or nervous system diseases.flu are viral infections affecting the lining of the nose,
sinuses, throat, and large airways. The flu can
cause fever, runny nose,cough, headache, a feeling of illness, and inflammation of the lining of the nose and airways.
Many different viruses can cause the flu.
Why a person is more likely to become infected at one time than another isn’t entirely known. Becoming chilled or wet doesn’t cause the flu by itself, you have to come in contact with the flu virus.
Again, good hygiene is very important
to help prevent the spread of the flu virus.
Symptoms usually start 24 to 48 hours after infection and can begin suddenly. Chills may be the initial indication of the flu. Fever is common during the first few days, and the temperature may rise to 102 to 103 degrees F. Many people will feel the need to stay in bed for the first few days, they have aches and pains
throughout the body, most pronounced in the back
and legs. Headache is often severe, with aching
around and behind the eyes. Bright light may make
the headache worse.
The respiratory symptoms may be mild, with a
scratchy sore throat, a burning sensation in the chest, a dry cough, and a runny nose. Later, the cough can become severe and bring up sputum. The skin may be warm and flushed. The mouth and throat may redden, the eyes may water, and the whites of the eyes may be mildly inflamed. The ill person, especially a child, may have nausea and vomiting.
After 2 or 3 days, most symptoms disappear rapidly, and the fever usually ends, although the fever can last up to 5 days. Bronchitis and coughing may persist for 10 days or more, and changes in the airway may take 6 to 8 weeks to completely resolve. Even weakness and fatigue may persist for several days or occasionally for weeks.
In rare occasions, the flu can lead to pneumonia and if not treated within 48 hours can lead to death.
Vaccination against the flu every year,however,is the best way to avoid contracting the flu. Vaccination should take place during the fall, so that levels of antibodies will be highest during the peak flu months,November through March.
Amantadine or rimantadine, 2 antivirial drugs, can
protect against influenza A, but not B. These drugs are given to those that can’t take the flu shots. They can be taken throughout the flu season.
The main treatment for the flu is to stay in bed,
maintain hydration by drinking plenty of fluids, and to avoid exertion, until the body temperature returns to normal.
As always, it is important to check with your doctor if you feel you may be coming down with the flu.
Also, if possible, avoid crowded areas, such as
shopping centers, malls, grocery stores. If you must go to these places, make it quick trips and avoid anyone that may be coughing or sneezing.
The best preventive measures involve good hygiene.
Because many flu viruses are spread by contact with infected secretions, frequently washing of hands, carefully disposing of used tissue, and cleaning items and surfaces can help to reduce the spread of the germs or virus.