Flu is an acute febrile illness caused by the flu virus. The medical term is Influenza and is highly contagious. Flu infects the respiratory tract and must be treated before complications begin to appear. There are many ways to get infected. You get infected when an infected person sneezes or coughs near you or if you come in too close contact with an ill person. Influenza enters our body and spreads trough the respiratory tract. Usually people sick with flu begin to recover in 1-2 weeks time, but it is possible for some people to suffer from serious complications, for example, to develop pneumonia. Infected people can spread the Influenza before they find out that they are actually ill. With flu treatments and medications you can ease the symptoms of the flu, but unfortunately there is no real cure for the disease. Flu can be treated with homeopathic medications, natural and herbal remedies.
What causes the Flu?
Flu is transmitted through air and if you know how it spreads and how it infects you, you can take precautions to protect yourself. Flu differs from a common cold, because cold is caused from many different viruses while flu is caused by the Influenza Virus. You get infected with the Flu Virus when you inhale small drops that have been sneezed or coughed by an infected person. Another way to get infected is when you touch objects or items that have been already touched by an infected person and in sometime later you touch your face. Objects and items can be infected with respiratory secretions. The flu affects the respiratory tract and causes irritation and rashes. The viral RNA changes nonstop and because of that the antibodies in our body cannot cope with the flu.
Before you begin treating the flu, be sure to check that it isn’t a common cold, because they share some symptoms like runny nose, sore throat and cough. There are other symptoms that indicate flu, symptoms like high body temperature around 37.7 – 39.4 C. Sometimes children suffer from even higher temperature. Fever and chills are also likely to be experienced. Other symptoms are strong headache, body ache, exhaustion, weariness, sickness, vomiting and diarrhea. Flu symptoms may disappear in 1-2 weeks, but cough and weakness could prolong for longer time.
Flu Virus Characteristics
Influenza was first discovered in the 1930s and since then scientists have split the viruses into three strains based in their protein composition: Influenza A, Influenza B and Influenza C.
- Influenza A is the most common of the three strains of the Flu Virus and it attacks every year. Type A is divided into subtypes HA and NA, which are based on the two main structures of the virus. So far 16 HA and 9 NA are known and recently subtypes H1N1 virus and H3N2 have been found in humans. Influenza A infects humans, ducks, chicken, pigs, whales, horses and seals, and it is the most vicious of the three strains.
- Influenza B is less dangerous than Influenza A and mostly affects humans. Influenza A and Influenza B are responsible for the flu epidemics every year. Type B could cause serious health problems, but most of the times the illness is slight. Type B has no subtypes and sub-strains.
- Influenza C affects humans, pigs and dogs. Type C is common but causes slight respiratory infections, so people infected with it do not suffer from severe illness.
There are flu vaccines for Influenza A and Influenza B, but unfortunately there is no vaccine for Influenza C.
Who is most susceptible to the Flu virus?
Susceptible people are old people and young children, people with weak immune system and people suffering from chronic diseases. Most of the times flu is slight but not very pleasant. If the symptoms get worse, there is a big risk of serious complications. Here is a list of people who are very susceptible to flu and can suffer from severe complications and consequences. Such people are old people at the age of 50 or older. Pregnant women, new born babies and young children. People suffering from chronic diseases like Asthma, Bronchitis, kidney disease, diabetes, heart or cardiovascular disease. People using steroids or taking cancer treatment. People who are anaemic or HIV positive and of course people with weak immune system.
Important things to remember if you get infected
If you are infected, beside taking flu treatment medications you must also take care of yourself. Influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics are not very reliable. You can take painkiller to get some relief if you suffer from headache, muscle pain or if your body hurts. Here are some tips on what to do if you get infected. Stay home and avoid contact with other people until you recover. Get a lot of rest and sleep and drink many liquids, for example water, chicken broth and etc. Keep yourself warm and do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Eat light food. Wash your hands often or you can use alcohol-based sanitizer. Sauna and hot baths are very effective and can help your relieve from stress. It is important to wear a flu mask to prevent getting infected or spreading the virus.
The best treatment for the flu is to prevent getting infected in the first place. If you follow some simple rules, you can avoid getting infected. Those rules are: When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and dispose it immediately. After that wash your hands with soup and warm water or use alcohol-based sanitizer. Use antibacterial cleaners for cleaning your hands and surfaces. Make sure that your hands are clean and germ free before touching your face, because the virus can easily enter the body from dirty hands. It is important to get the early flu shot, especially for the people with weak immune system and those suffering from chronic diseases.
It is possible to get infected even after following those rules. If that happens you must start flu treatment. Here are some basic flu treatments.
Get plenty of sleep, it is very important to get enough rest so that you can boost your immune system. Flu will make you fill weak and will dehydrate your body so get plenty of rest and drink lots of liquids. Antibiotics can help you recover faster and they can prevent bacterial infections and other flu complications. Painkillers can help you relive if you suffer from headache or muscle pain. You can take Tamiflu, Relenza, Flumadine and Symmetrel. These antiviral medications can help you reduce the time for recovery and can ease the symptoms.
Here are some natural and home flu remedies:
1 Using Long Pepper – Mix half Tsp of long pepper powder, two Tsp. of honey and one Tsp of ginger juice. This mixture helps a lot if taken in the first few days of the disease and can prevent complications.
2 Using Garlic – The garlic has antiseptic feature, which is an excellent cure for flu.
3 Using Turmeric – Take 1 Tsp of turmeric and mix well in a cup of warm water. Take it three times a day. It prevents from complications of flu and boosts the immune system. It also helps in activating the liver when it becomes sluggish.
4 Using Onion – Onion helps a lot with flu, mix even amounts of onion juice and honey, drink from the solution three times a day.
5 Using Ginger – Mix a Tsp Of ginger juice with a cup of fenugreek decoction, you can add honey for better taste. This mix helps in increasing the sweating which reduces the fever. This solution helps a lot, because ginger is the best remedy for flu.
6 Using Grapefruit – The Grapefruit tones the body and the digestive system.
7 Using Basil Leaves – Boil one gram of basil leaves with ginger in half a liter of water. Boil until half of the water is left. The solution provides instant relief
Flu symptoms can be treated with vitamins, herbs, homeopathic medicine and other foods. Natural flu remedies and flu treatments help in lessening the pain and suffering from the flu infection.