Influenza, also known as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by the R23eNA viruses. The flu is often confused with the common cold, because they share some of the symptoms and typically occur at the same time of the year. However, flu is more serious disease that requires a special treatment.
Typically, the flu is transmitted through the air by the coughing or sneezing. It is also transmitted through the direct contact with the contaminated surfaces, saliva or nasal secretions. Touching the surface and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes helps the virus to get into the body. For this reason, frequent hand washing is recommended to reduce the risk of infection.
The ncubation period of the virus lasts one to seven days. However, full symptoms usually appear two or three days after the initial infection. The flu is very contagious and it often strikes a community all in once, causing an epidemic illness. It is estimate that about ten million people in the United States gets the flu each year and 36,000 people die each year from the complications associated with flu.
Signs and symptoms of flu
Symptoms of influenza usually start suddenly. The first symptoms of the disease occur as a result of bodily temperature rising, and include chills and fever. Body temperature usually ranges from 38 °C to 39 °C, leaving the patient weak and exhausted, confined to bed for a couple of days. Patients usually complain about aches and pain in the muscles and bones. Feelings of fatigue and headache with highly unpleasant nasal congestions, cough and painful through, are also present. The flu is often distinguished from the common cold by an extremely high fever and tiredness.
How long does the flu last?
The course of the disease, and the length of it, varies from person to person. Most commonly, flu lasts for a couple of days, usually three to ten days. People with strong immune system will normally fight the disease faster than the people with weakened immune system. Influenza may also last longer in children and toddlers. Patients’ behavior during the course of illness also plays a significant role in recovery. If a person takes medications and rests a lot, the flu will pass more quickly.
Treatment of flu
The key factor in treatment of flu is to take a lot of liquids and rest. Antibiotics are completely ineffective against flu, because it is a viral infection. Certain medications may be prescribed to ease the symptoms of illness and bring a temporary relief to the patient. Different home remedies are also used to help with sore throat, headaches or to support the immune system. The flu vaccine is also available to protect against the influenza virus.