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Home ┬╗ Flu (Influenza) Doctor Irving

Flu (Influenza) Doctor Irving

Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is normally spread by sneezes and coughs of an infected person. You can also catch the flu by shaking hands or touching an infected person.

Symptoms of the Flu:
Flu is commonly confused with a bad cold. A bad cold may include a sore throat, cough, and a runny or blocked nose. The following are symptoms that differentiate from a bad cold.

  • Headache
  • High temperature
  • Shivers and cold sweats
  • Aching limbs and joints
  • Fatigue, feeling exhausted
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (more common among children) such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea

Risk Factors of the Flu:

  • Adults over 65
  • Young children and babies
  • Pregnant women
  • Individuals with cardiovascular disease
  • Those with asthma or bronchitis
  • Individuals with kidney disease
  • People with diabetes
  • Individuals undergoing cancer treatment
  • Individuals with longstanding diseases that reduce immune system function

Prevention:
There are two types of flu vaccinations, the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. Health experts say that the single best way to protect oneself from catching the flu is to get vaccinated every year. Protection begins about 2 weeks after receiving the vaccination. A flu vaccine will contain three influenza viruses:

  • Influenza (H3N2) virus
  • Influenza (H1N2) virus
  • One B virus

Certain individuals should check with their doctors before getting the flu vaccine including:

  • Individuals with allergy to chicken eggs
  • Those who have had a severe vaccine reaction in the past
  • Individuals who developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome within 6 weeks of receiving the vaccine
  • Children under 6 months old
  • Individuals who are experiencing a moderate or severe illness should wait until they recover before receiving the vaccine.

Treatment:

Unless the flu has led to another illness caused by bacteria, antibiotics cannot help the flu as it is caused by a virus. Painkillers can alleviate some of the symptoms such as body pains and headache. If you have the flu you should:

  • Stay at home
  • Rest and keep warm
  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid contact with other people as much as possible
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Stop smoking

Seek medical treatment if:

  • Your temperature remains high after 4 – 5 days
  • Symptoms worsen
  • Develop chest pain and/or become short of breath
  • The individual begins to feel seriously ill
  • The individual is elderly or frail
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