Learning the facts about Influenza is the first step toward treatments and protecting yourself. The Influenza, or Flu, is a respiratory infection and it is highly contagious. It is most common in the fall and winter, and is caused mainly by viruses called type A and type B influenza viruses. These enter the body through the mouth, nose and eyes.
When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. School-age children are often the first to get the influenza, which they carry home and to other places in the community.
But not all of these people will get sick. It depends on the individual's immune system. The best cure for flu is prevention. Hundreds of natural products specifically formulated for immune support are available today.
The influenza generally strikes 1 to 3 days after exposure to the virus. Fever is one indicator of the flu in all age groups. However, fever alone is not sufficient for a flu diagnosis. Common influenza symptoms have been identified for three different age groups:
1. Children younger than age 5
2. Adults and children 5 years of age and older
3. Elderly individuals
1. Recognizing influenza in children younger than age 5
Call your pediatrician if your child complains of or if you observe:
Influenza Treatment: Tamiflu is the only drug approved for influenza treatment, so far. It attacks the influenza virus and stops it from spreading inside the body. Tamiflu suspension is very usefully for children who don't like capsules.
2. Recognizing influenza in adults and children 5 years of age and older
Review these common flu symptoms. Are you or someone you care about experiencing some or all of them?
muscle and joint pain
fatigue and weakness
If you answered yes, you should call your doctor immediately. Get a diagnosis within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms and, if appropriate, your doctor can prescribe an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu.
3. Recognizing flu in the 50+ population:
Older family members are also susceptible to the flu virus. Common influenza symptoms for individuals aged 50 and older are:
fever higher than 99°F
fatigue and weakness
If a family member is experiencing some or all of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Knowing the dangers of influenza
A bad case of the flu will probably send a healthy adult or child to bed for 3 to 5 days. Afterward, the person will recover fully, but cough and tiredness may persist for days or weeks.
Nonetheless, the flu can be a serious illness. Each year, up to 60 million Americans develop the flu, and more than 200,000 are hospitalized.
People with chronic illnesses and those aged 50 and older are more likely than others to become seriously ill with the influenza virus, and to develop other serious infections such as pneumonia. If you are elderly or have a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or HIV, call your doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms.
Influenza Treatments - Other ways to take care:
It will help you get better and keep you from spreading the flu virus. Flu is contagious for 3 or 4 days after symptoms appear.
You should drink plenty of fluids, which your body needs to avoid dehydration.
For soothing symptoms, hot liquids may relieve the feeling of congestion. Taking a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, may lessen aches and fever. Other "over the counter" therapies–while not treating the virus that causes flu—may also temporarily relieve influenza symptoms.
Reminder: Never give aspirin to a child under 12 who has the flu, or any fever-causing illness, due to the risk of a serious adverse effect known as Reye's syndrome.
Can the flu be cured with antibiotics?
No. Antibiotics are only useful for treating bacterial infections. Because the influenza is a viral infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Antivirals such as Tamiflu are the only prescription medications that can treat the flu.
The information provided here is not intended to take the place of medical advice. For guidance on topics discussed, consult your health care professional.
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