Avian Flu

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is avian flu?

Avian flu, also known as bird flu, is a viral infection commonly found in birds. However, the virus that causes avian flu can mutate to and spread to humans and poultry that come in contact with infected birds by contaminated water or cooking.

Complications of avian flu are life-threatening. Possible complications include pneumonia, respiratory failure, kidney dysfunction and heart problems. While bird flu kills half of the infected people, the fatality rates are still much lower than that of seasonal flu.

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 avian flu?

The first symptoms of avian flu usually emerge after 2 to 8 days of contraction. Most of the symptoms look like those from conventional flu, including a cough, fever, sore throat, muscle pain, headache and breathing difficulties. In some cases, patients can experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even eye infections.

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 avian flu?

Avian flu is transferred via direct contact with feces or secretions of the infected birds. People may contract avian flu by eating undercooked products of infected birds.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for avian flu?

The greatest risk factor of avian flu is direct contact with infected birds by their feathers, saliva or droppings. Although there are rare cases when the flu transmits from one human to another, the mechanism of transmission remains unclear.

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 avian flu diagnosed?

Avian flu can be diagnosed by lab tests using fluids from your nose and throat. In addition, X-rays can help to evaluate the condition of your lungs, thus providing the best treatment plan.

How is avian flu treated?

Many strains of avian flu viruses have developed resistance to common anti-viral drugs like amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine). In those cases, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) can be used as a replacement.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

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

Although there is a vaccine (for one strain of H5N1), public use has not been approved. In the meantime, you should take precautions to prevent getting avian flu, especially if you plan to travel to any areas with known outbreaks.

The first step is to avoid farms and markets with domesticated birds. Also, remember to wash your hands regularly with an alcohol-based sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol). If you want to eat poultry, make sure they are cooked as thoroughly as possible with a temperature of 165oF or 74o C. The same applies to eggs, which means you should only eat them if the yolks and whites are firm.

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.

You might also like