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Flu, or influenza, is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. Parts of the respiratory system are: nose throat, bronchi and lungs. Healthy people usually have minor symptoms of this disease, but people with compromised health can develop serious complications.

Early Flu Symptoms

People usually can't see the difference between symptoms of flu and cold. Main difference between these two is the fact that cold develops slowly, and flu occurs suddenly. One of the most characteristic symptoms of flu is high fever. This fever can go from 101 F (38 C) in adults to 103 - 105 F (39.5 – 40.5) in children. Other symptoms are chills, dry cough, sweating, headache, etc. Also, people affected by the influenza virus can experience muscle pain in back, legs, and arms. Weakness and fatigue can also be early symptoms of flu, as well as nose congestion, sore throat, sneezing, chest pain, and vomiting and diarrhea in children.

In cases of cold, one will not experience weakness, muscle pain, headache and fever, but in mild cases one can experience fatigue. There are many complications of flu. Some of these complications can be pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infection and even encephalitis. This can happen as a consequence due to the weakened immune system. Furthermore, old people tend to have more complications pursuant to flu infection. Especially dangerous is pneumonia and encephalitis (pneumonia can even be fatal in older people).

Treatment of Influenza

Doctors usually prescribe antiviral medicines, which are most efficient if used soon after the first influenza symptoms. These medicines prevent your body to produce an enzyme that is necessary for the influenza viruses to grow and spread. Still, it would be a good idea to discuss the side effects of these medicines.

Moreover, you need to take a lot of fluids in the form of soup, juices and most importantly, water. Plenty of rest will also help you get better. Of course, you can manage muscle pain by taking painkillers and ibuprofen basedmedicines.

The best way to prevent flu is to get an annual influenza vaccine. It is best to do the vaccination before the peak of flu season. Vaccination does not mean that you are 100% protected from the flu, especially if you are an older adult. Still, it can diminish the severity of the condition. Finally, take care of your personal hygiene. It is important to wash your hands frequently and to do that very thoroughly. In addition, eat healthy food, and take enough time to rest. Exercise and try to get rid of your bad habits.

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