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Know the basics

What is flu?

The flu is a contagious infection that affects the respiratory system. It affects the lungs and may cause death in severe cases.

How common is flu?

Flu is extremely common. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of flu?

The common symptoms of flu are suddenly:

  • A sore throat;
  • Fever over 38OC;
  • Chills and sweats;
  • Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms, and legs;
  • Headache;
  • Dry, persistent cough;
  • Fatigue and weakness;
  • Nasal congestion;
  • A runny nose;
  • Sneezing.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes flu?

The flu is typically caused by viruses. According to the World Health Organization, the medical community combines the three most common viruses (A, B, and C) under the heading of seasonal influenza. Type A influenza is believed to be the most dangerous of the three viruses that cause flu.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for flu?

There are many risk factors for flu, such as:

  • Seasonal influenza tends to target young children and older adults.
  • Living conditions. Because of a contagious disease, people who live in facilities along with many other residents (nursing homes, military barracks) are more likely to develop influenza.
  • Weakened immune system. HIV/AIDS, cancer treatments, anti-rejection drugs, corticosteroids can weaken your immune system. This can make it easier for you to catch influenza and may also increase your risk of developing complications.
  • Chronic illnesses. Chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart problems, may increase your risk of influenza complications.
  • Pregnant women are more likely to develop influenza complications, particularly in the second and third trimesters.
  • People with a BMI of 40 or more have an increased risk of complications from flu.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information

How is flu diagnosed?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu can be diagnosed by a description of symptoms, but there are some laboratory tests to identify the strain of flu involved. Tests are more effective if performed within four days of the onset of symptoms.

How is flu treated?

Along with bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids to treat the flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).  Taking these drugs soon after you notice symptoms, they may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage flu?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with flu:

  • Drink plenty of liquids. Choose water, juice and warm soups to prevent dehydration.
  • Get more sleep to help your immune system fight infection.
  • Consider pain relievers. Use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to combat the achiness associated with influenza. Avoid using aspirin to children or teens due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare, but potentially fatal disease.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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