The Flu season has made its presence felt and the disease has spread across 35 US States. Flu is caused by a virus and the choice of medication are also limited. So what can you do to protect from the Flu epidemic?
Sandra Stricoff, infection preventions, Department of Infectious Diseases at Greenwich Hospital said in a statement “Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu can cause mild to severe illness and in extreme cases, death. The predominant strain we’re seeing this season is H1N1, which is especially hazardous to younger and middle-aged people.”
It is the same H1N1 virus which was also known as swine flu virus in the flu epidemic in 2009. It is often difficult to differentiate between a cold and flu symptoms since influenza can lead to lowering of the body’s immune system making it easy for opportunist pathogens to enter and cause secondary infections and pneumonia.
The Flu symptoms are often much more severe than the common cold symptoms and the symptoms could include Rigor, Chills, Cough, Sore Throat, Nasal Congestion, Fibromyalgia, Headache, emesis and diarrhea. Children and middle aged patients are more likely to get affected with the flu virus.
Patients who are suffering from flu syndrome or are at an increased risk of flu related infections from the general population must be prescribed antiviral medications. It could significantly lower the length of the illness and also prevent dangerous complication like secondary infections by opportunistic pathogens. The medications are most effective when they are administered early in the progression of the illness.
As the old adage goes “Prevention is the best medicine” and it is applicable to influenza also. The best protection is to get oneself vaccinated and the vaccine has been approved for anyone above the age of six.
Precautions which can be helpful include: regular hand washing; avoiding other ailing individuals; and disinfecting surfaces in the home, classroom and workplace.
Avoid contact with the eyes, nose or mouth particularly after coming in contact with any suspect surface. Germs can be spread easily by this mode.