The Common Flu
Influenza is an acute infectious respiratory disease, highly contagious, caused by influenza virus A or B, and occurs as outbreaks of variable severity almost every winter. The period during it occurs with increased frequency is from November to March. Influenza infection can affect anyone, but the risk of developing more severe clinical forms and develop complications is higher for children, for elderly and people with immunodeficiency or chronic diseases. Since influenza virus is found in a wide variety of subtypes, that change from year to year, even vaccinated people can develop a flu, but with smaller severity.
Way of Transmission
The way of transmission is respiratory from person to person through droplets of saliva eliminated through coughing, sneezing and talking.It is very contagious one to two days before and four to five days after onset. Patients with atypical forms of disease are also contagious.Other virus reservoirs can be some animals for type A virus.The peak incidence is situated during November to March.
The incubation period is about two days. The disease severity depends on previous exposure to related types of viruses. Influenza is often confused with runny nose, very common in children, especially in winter.The onset is sudden, sometimes violent, with chills, high fever of 39-40 degrees C, muscle pain, intense headaches, fatigue, eye pain (characteristic of flu), nasal catarrh (the stuffy feeling) dry cough, inappetence (lack of appetite), nausea, vomiting, even diarrhea.
Complication influence the evolution and prognosis of the infection, especially when chronic diseases occurs in children or dystrophic infants. It can be a primary influenza pneumonia or secondary through secondary bacterial overgrowth. Other complications that can occur are: cardiovascular (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis, meningitis), Reye’s syndrome. Children under 24 months require hospitalization due to the increased risk of developing complications. The convalescence period increases the sensitivity to bacterial infections.
- Bed rest in a breezy room (not overheated)
- Increased consumption of liquids: tea, canned fruits, juice, soup, which can be warm (not hot)
- Vitamin C (as tablets or syrups)
- Fighting the fever, which according to age can be syrups, suppositories or tablets
- Combating cough
- Antibiotics are used only in the case of bacterial overgrowth.
Preventive measures during the epidemic period are very important: avoid crowded places, visits, apply the basic rules of hygiene (use the handkerchief when you cough or sneeze). A very effective method is the active immunization against influenza (vaccination of children and the elderly), especially those who are prone to complications.