What is Flu or Influenza?
A common cold, flu, or influenza is a respiratory illness caused due to a viral infection in the nose or the throat. Flu is derived from the word influenza. It is mostly harmless, and a lot of viruses can cause the common cold. The recovery time from influenza is usually ten days or a week. In addition to this, you must visit your doctor if you don’t find improvement in your symptoms.
Common flu symptoms or influenza symptoms are:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Congested nose
- Body ache
Flu symptoms in children
The flu symptoms in children that are generally observed are:
- Fever lasting more than five days
- High-grade fever of over 101.3F
- Severe sinus pain or sore throat
- Shortness of breath
Influenza is a common winter disease. The season for flu generally lasts from fall to early spring. The peak season for flu, therefore, is the winter months of the year. If you are down with the flu, you will notice sneezing, coughing, and fatigue. Therefore, flu shots are advised by your doctor to prevent yourself from getting the flu.
Amongst the plethora of viruses, rhinoviruses are the biggest culprit associated with influenza. The virus enters through the eyes, mouth, and nose.
The various flu causes are:
- Droplets in the air after an infected patient coughs or sneezes.
- Hand-in-hand contact.
- Coming in contact with contaminated objects of the patient
The key flu risk factors are:
- Season: Both children and adults have been associated with increased susceptibility to colds during the winter season.
- Age: Young children below the age of six are more prone to the flu.
- Weak immune system: Having a previous chronic condition renders you more susceptible to the flu resulting in serious health problems.
- Smoking: You are more likely to have a severe form of flu if you smoke
- Exposure: If your surroundings and the people around you catch the flu, you are also more likely to have it.
No treatment exists for influenza; therefore, flu treatment involves relieving you of your signs and symptoms. Some of the commonly used treatments are:
- Pain relievers
- Nasal spray
- Cough syrups
The home remedies for flu, aside from the treatment, make you comfortable and help you get cured as fast as possible. Some of these home remedies are:
- Fluids: It is essential to drink plenty of fluid, which would keep you hydrated.
- Chicken soup: Chicken soup or other warm fluids help in soothing the body and relieving you of congestion.
- Saline nasal drops: The saline drops would help you get relief from the nasal congestion. These are available over the counter.
- Rest: It is essential to take as much rest as possible when you have the flu. It would not only prevent others from having it but would also help you get better faster.
- Gargling: Gargling using saltwater can grant you relief from sore throat.
A flu shot vaccine is an immunization procedure wherein you would be administered a flu vaccine with a needle in the arm. It would grant you relief from three to four influenza viruses that are the most common during the peak season. The protection granted varies from the season, age, and health conditions of the individual.