Fighting Seasonal Flu

Fighting Seasonal Flu

Seasonal changes can bring in a lot of metabolic fevers in humans. Especially, the change from summer to rainy to winter causes cold and flu in people. Influenza is a highly unpredictable, contagious respiratory illness that causes body aches, sneezing, fever, headaches and body soreness. Flu viruses that pass through our mouth and respiratory tract lead to such infections. Though flu fevers are extremely common and treatable, they can also be severe too. Taking flu shots helps to an extent but preventing it totally might not be possible. Physicians categorize flu into three types.

Influenza A and B –  More common in animals and humans, these two types of flu can cause epidemics during seasonal changes. These two strains can show various symptoms that are close to the common cold. That makes it confusing for people to judge the problem. Influenza A again is classified into two strains.

Influenza H1N1 –  More commonly known as swine flu, this strain of flu fever originated from pigs and caused a huge epidemic all across the world. Timely flu shots and strong antibiotics can prevent and cure this condition.

Influenza H3N2 –  The first outbreak was seen in dogs and the results were disastrous. Canine influenza usually doesn’t affect humans but some cases were reported here and there. The same virus strain has mutated into various forms and was also spotted in birds and animals.

Influenza C –  The mildest form of flu is the C strain which is very rare and doesn’t lead to epidemics too. Causes fever and cold but doesn’t lead to serious respiratory illnesses. This type responds well to medication.

Avian flu –  This kind of flu was in the news all over the world for affecting millions of wild birds and poultry. Bird flu usually doesn’t affect humans but it was reported that almost 20% of those who contracted such flu from birds died due to high fever.

Symptoms of Flu

  • Chills and fever above 102 degrees Celsius
  • Body soreness
  • Cold and breathing difficulty
  • Headaches
  • Mild nausea

The elderly, babies and children and pregnant women are at a great risk for flu. People with respiratory illnesses, heart diseases and diabetes too can easily contract flu viruses and fall sick instantly. When it is season for the viruses to attack humans, utmost care should be taken to prevent it. If you spot cold or flu-like symptoms in your body, consult a General Physician immediately and seek help.

Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Zanamivir are extensively used to treat all kinds of flu. In severe cases where the patient is down with high fever and is unconscious, Peramivir is given as an IV fluid to improve the condition immediately.

Preventing Flu

The flu shot that is commonly administered at every hospital usually works well in preventing such fevers. The health ministry recommends that every individual gets the flu vaccination every year irrespective of their age and gender. However, the elders should exercise great caution in preventing flu. Here are a few tips that can be of help.

  • Maintain hygiene at home and surroundings.
  • Wash your hands every time you eat or drink something. Using a sanitizer will be of great help.
  • Do not stay close to a person who has cold or fever. Persons affected with flu must be kept away from the rest of the family members.
  • Always cover your mouth if you are coughing. Stay away from public and crowded places.
  • Disinfecting toilets and other wet places in a home can kill virus strains and reduce their intensity.
  • Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables boost the body’s immunity and helps in reducing the risk of a flu fever.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad