The flu, its causes, symptoms and treatments

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nfluenza or influenza is a respiratory disease caused by a virus. The flu is highly contagious and is usually transmitted by coughing and sneezing of an infected person.

You can also get the flu by being in contact with an infected person (eg, shaking hands). Adults can be infected 1 to 2 days before symptoms appear and up to 7 days after becoming sick.

This means that the influenza virus can spread before people know they are infected.

More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized for flu complications each year and it is estimated that about 36,000 people die from this disease.

It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 people die every year as a result of the flu worldwide. In industrialized countries, the majority of deaths occur among people over 65.

A country affected by an epidemic of this disease in which a large number of people are infected, may take several weeks to control the situation.

Facts about the flu

• Antibiotics are not used to treat the disease

• Approximately 5% to 20% of Americans acquire the disease

• Experts agree that the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year

• Influenza vaccine is not suitable for certain groups of people, such as those who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.


How serious is the influenza?

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n most cases, it is not serious, it is simply unpleasant. For some people, however, there can be serious complications. This is most likely in very young children, in the elderly and for people with another long illness that can weaken their immune system.

The risk of serious complications with the flu is higher in certain people:

• Over 65 years

• Babies or small children

• Pregnant women

• People with heart or 

cardiovascular diseases

• People with chest problems,

 such as asthma or bronchitis

• Individuals with kidney 

disease

• People with diabetes

• People who take steroids

• People receiving cancer

 treatment

• Those with long-term diseases

 that can reduce the functions of

 the immune system

• Some of the complications caused by this disease can include bacterial pneumonia , dehydration and worsening of chronic diseases, such as congestive heart failure, asthma or diabetes. Children can have sinus problems and ear infections.

Some seasonal patterns of influenza and upper respiratory tract infections are linked to narcolepsy, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. 

Narcolepsy is a neurological disease characterized by attacks of sleep and excessive sleepiness at inappropriate times, such as during work.


Treatments for the flu

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ecause this disease is caused by a virus, antibiotics do not help, unless the flu has caused another disease caused by bacteria. Some of the symptoms, like headaches and body can be alleviated by analgesics.

Some analgesics, such as aspirin, should not be used in children under 12 years of age.

People with the flu should:

• Have rest at home

• Avoid contact with other people whenever possible

• Stay warm and rest

• Drink much liquid

• Avoid alcohol

• Give up smoking

• Eat light and healthy as much as possible

• People living alone should tell a relative, friend or neighbor that they have the flu and make sure they can visit them for any complications.


Do people with the flu need to tell their doctor?

• You should only inform a doctor in the following situations:

• If the person is frail or elderly (elderly)

• If the temperature is still high after 4 to 5 days,

• If the symptoms get worse

• If the person feels seriously ill,

• If you have trouble breathing or have chest pain.

Depending on your resources, a phone call to the doctor may be a better solution than making an appointment.


Prevention of the influenza

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overnment agencies around the world and health experts say that the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu is to get vaccinated every year.

There are two types of vaccines, the influenza vaccine and the nasal spray vaccine . The flu vaccine is given with a needle, usually in the arm, and is approved for anyone older than 6 months, in healthy people and in people with chronic medical conditions. u

—Heath News Network