The medical term is Influenza and is worldwide spread disease, better known as flu. Some say it is the modern plague of humanity and millions of people get it every year. It is an infection of the respiratory tract. Flu’s outbreak is during the winter season, from the late autumn to the beginning of the spring. It usually happens in limited outbreaks, so it can easy be prevented. Here are some tips how to lessen the risk of getting infected. It is important to prepare, to cope with the flu in case you catch it.
Where does it come from and how do we get infected?
There are few ways of getting infected. Usually flu is transmitted from one person to another by sneezes or coughs, spilling out drops containing the virus. Another way of getting infected is if you touch an object or item that has already been touched by an infected person and later you touch your face. Flu is very easily spread, especially in crowded places and often strikes a group of people all at the same time. The influenza virus that causes the flu is of the type that affects birds and mammals. The virus mutates very fast, therefore there are many different types and every year you have to deal with new ones. This means you will have to change your flu vaccine every year or you will continue to get infected. The flu is very tenacious and the poor hygiene makes the infestation much easier.
Which people can be easily infected by the flu virus?
Young children are susceptible to the flu virus because they have never been exposed to the viruses before. People with weak immune system, for example old people and people with chronic disease, they can develop pneumonia, which in their case can be life threatening and even cause death.
Flu symptoms and how long do they last?
The main flu symptoms are cough, fever and sore throat. You can also experience muscle ache, strong headache, chills and fatigue. Some people could suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. It is possible to lack fever, even though been infected with influenza and having respiratory symptoms. The flu symptoms can prolong from two to seven days and the complete recovery can take up to two weeks. During this time, it will be hard for sick people to do normal daily activities. That is absolutely normal.
How to lessen the risk of getting infected or how to stop flu from spreading?
If you take precautions for preventing the flu, you lessen the risk of getting infected. But if you get infected anyway, the precautions you have taken will help you recover faster.
Here are some important things to do.
First, you must keep your body healthy and maintain a good immune system. Get enough sleep, at least seven, eight hours of sleep. Do exercises, for example aerobics or gymnastics, they help you relieve the stress and enhance your immune system. You can also try prayers, meditation and meditative physical activities like yoga and etc. Improve your diet, eat lots of vegetables and fruits and drink a lot of water. Adults must drink about 2 liters of water every day. Ask your doctor, what to add to your diet. Most people add multi-vitamin and mineral complex and also other vitamins like vitamins C, D and E.
Second, take your flu vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking flu shot every year, as it is the major step for preventing flu infection. There are many flu virus types and the normal flu vaccine protects from three selected types that are expected to be most common for the oncoming season.
Third, maintain good hygiene, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and then throw it right away. Frequently wash your hands, especially after touching objects, items and surfaces that might have been infected. You can use alcohol based sanitizer, which is now available in most stores. Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth and try not to make contact with people who seem to have flu symptoms. Make sure to clean objects that are often touched by other people, to eliminate any contamination. Objects like headphones, door handles, keyboards and etc. You should also check your work place and your children’s school to be supplied with enough soaps, paper towels, tissues, alcohol based sanitizer and disposable wipes.
How do you cope with the flu?
Get enough sleep and plenty of rest. Spend more time in the bed. Drink a lot of water and other fluids to replace electrolytes. You can include sports drinks. You can relieve the symptoms by taking non-prescription drugs like Tylenol or Aspirin. They help especially for the aches and fever. Stay indoors at home and don’t go out for at least one day after your fever is down without using medication to treat it. You can take flu antiviral drugs, but only if your doctor prescribes them. They will make the illness slighter, speed up the time for recovery and possibly avoid serious flu complications. The antiviral drugs differ from the antibiotics. They reduce the effects of the influenza, but do not cure it. For the antiviral drugs to be effective, they need to be taken within the first two days of the flu symptoms. Among the first candidates for the antiviral drugs are little children, pregnant women, old people, people with weak immune system and people suffering from chronic diseases. They all have high risk for complications and consequences of the flu.
Everyone can easily be infected by flu virus but with caution and following some advice and recommendations, we can reduce the risk of getting infected with influenza. It is possible to get the flu anyway, but if you have followed these recommendations, you will recover from the disease much faster. So if you follow the written in this article, you would be at least one step ahead of the influenza and you may help to lessen the magnitude of the flu outbreaks.