Influenza is more commonly called ” “the flu” and is usually confused with the common cold. Influenza is actually a more serious illness, and has more severe symptoms as well. Influenza affects children and adults alike, and a simple measure like washing your hands and covering your mouth when you sneeze can actually help prevent it from spreading.
Influenza is caused by an RNA virus, from the Orthomyxoviridae family, commonly called the ” “influenza virus” . There are three recognized strains of the influenza virus that cause the disease these are, the influenza A, B and C virus.
How Can Influenza Spread?
Influenza is a highly contagious disease and can spread through respiratory droplets, what this means is that it is able to spread through the air by coughs or sneezes which create virus laden aerosols that can then infect others. Influenza also spreads through direct contact, for example by nasal secretions or if one comes into contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by the influenza virus. Sunlight, detergents and disinfectants can inactivate the virus, which is why it is always recommend to wash your hands thoroughly before eating food, especially after contacting surfaces in public places such as door knobs, doors and tables.
Symptoms Of Influenza:
Influenza symptoms range from mild to severe and depend upon the severity of infection. Symptoms start a few days after contracting the disease and usually start as a feverish feeling with chills. In the early stage of the infection, it can also become difficult to distinguish these symptoms with those of the common cold. Some of the most common influenza symptoms are:
- Chills and fever
- Sore throat
- Muscle cramps or pains
- Headaches which can be mild to severe
- Fatigue and weakness
- General malaise and discomfort
- In some children influenza can also cause nausea and vomiting
- Reddened eyes, nose, mouth and skin
- Petechial rash
- Nasal congestion
Treatment Of Influenza:
Taking plenty of rest, drinking fluids such as water, orange juice and chicken soups are usually enough to help alleviate the symptoms. Fever and pain reliving medicine are also prescribed to treat influenza but Aspirin must be avoided due to side effects, especially in children. Herbal teas, honey, ginger and other home remedies are very popular in treating influenza.