Influenza (seasonal flu)


Ear Nose | Allergy & Immunology | Influenza (seasonal flu) (Disease)


Description

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system - nose, throat and lungs. Influenza, commonly called the flu, is not the same as the stomach flu viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. But colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu.

Causes and Risk factors

Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks. A person can inhale the droplets directly, or he/she can pick up the germs from an object — such as a telephone or computer keyboard — and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, a person needs nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu. But in some cases, the doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, such as oseltamivir or zanamivir. If taken soon after noticing symptoms, these drugs may shorten the illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.

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