BY UMAIR SHAFIQ
The flu is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses A or B . Most people who get the flu recover completely in 1 to 2 weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. Much of the illness and death caused by influenza can be prevented by annual influenza vaccination.
Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu.
Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks.
Many things play a role in making the flu more common in the winter. The virus lives longer indoors in winter, because the air is less humid than outside. While it’s alive and in the air, it’s easy for people to inhale it, or for it to land on the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Some strains of influenza A, such as the H5N1 “bird flu” virus, occasionally infect humans, causing serious illness. Experts track these strains carefully, as they try to predict how they will change, and how they might affect people.
A person with the flu may experience a stuffy or runny nose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person with flu may experience:
A high temperature.
A stuffy or runny nose.
A dry cough.
Cold sweats and shivers.
fatigue, and a feeling of being unwell
a low appetite.
Emergency warning signs
Shortness of breath
Flu symptoms that improve but then relapse with a high fever and severe cough (can be bacterial pneumonia)
High fever and a rash.
Inability to drink fluids.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
Studies found that children are most likely to get sick from the flu and that people 65 and older are least likely to get sick from influenza. Median incidence values (or attack rate) by age group were 9.3% for children 0-17 years, 8.8% for adults 18-64 years, and 3.9% for adults 65 years and older. This means that children younger than 18 are more than twice as likely to develop a symptomatic flu infection than adults 65 and older.
People at High Risk from Flu
Anyone can get flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years.
The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.
When a person has flu, it is essential that they:
Stay at home.
Avoid contact with other people if possible.
Keep warm and rest.
Consume plenty of liquids and healthful foods.
Stop smoking, as this raises the risk of complications.
The flu treatment you should take depends on your symptoms. For example, if you have nasal or sinus congestion, then a decongestant can be helpful.
Decongestants come in oral or nasal spray forms. Decongestants are used to reduce swelling in the nasal passageways. However, nasal spray decongestants should not be used for more than a few days because, if they are used too long and then stopped, they can cause rebound symptoms.
Over-the-counter antihistamines often make people drowsy, whereas decongestants can make people hyper or keep them awake.
The single best way to prevent flu is to have a flu vaccination every year.
People suffering from influenza should:
Stay at home.
Avoid direct contact with people till you are cured.
Keep your hands protected from germs with the help of Dettol Liquid Handwash or Hand Sanitiser.
Take rest and keep yourself warm.
Consume plenty of liquids.
Keep separate utensils for the one who is infected and make sure that you wash those utensils with Dettol Multiuse Hygiene Liquid.
There are two types of vaccination:
The flu shot: A healthcare professional will administer the flu shot with a needle, usually in the arm. It is suitable for anyone older than 6 months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.
The nasal-spray flu vaccine: The nasal-spray flu vaccine contains live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause illness.
In Common Cold
You’ll find every second person at your home or office surrounding is either suffering from cold or cough. Common cold is certainly a common condition, however if not treated early it could lead to severe headache, sore throat, mucus accumulation and nasal infection. To avoid the common cold, always wear multiple layered clothes and try home remedies such as gargling hot water and steam intake to keep cough and cold at bay.
The early symptoms of pneumonia could be cold and it keeps getting worse, if not treated. Due to bacterial infection, it can affect you in different ways. In some cases it gets cured with antibiotic doses and OPD treatment, but in few cases, patients might need care and treatment in a hospital due to severity of symptoms.
Dry skin is a very common condition during the winter season especially when the humidity is low.
Avoid hot water baths during winters, or else you might feel itchy.
Moisturizing your skin with a cold cream or petroleum jelly would help.
Wear extra layers of clothes to keep yourself warm
Avoid consuming cold water
Avoid Hot water bath
Eat a healthy diet..
Umair Shafiq Khanday is pursuing B.Sc Nursing From Pacific Institute Of Medical Sciences Udaipur Rajasthan.