Causes, Symptoms, Risks, And Urgent Care For Flu

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Have you ever had the flu? Most individuals mistake the symptoms of influenza with the signs of a common cold, without being aware of the severe complications that might arise from such an infection. 

This respiratory infection affects the nose, throat, and lungs of patients, hence resulting in symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, and nasal congestion. Some high-risk groups are at risk of serious complications, such as pneumonia, heart inflammation, or kidney failure. 

In order to be prepared for the flu season, make sure you learn more about the causes, symptoms, risks, and treatment of influenza.

Causes

Influenza might be caused by an extensive variety of viruses that affects the respiratory system of patients. This infection is known to be contagious, hence spreading incredibly easy among people via droplets, which travel through the air whenever an infected person sneezes; coughs; or simply speaks with another person. 

Apart from inhaling such droplets, a person can also get infected by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces, where the virus might remain for as long as 24 hours. Once an individual touches such a surface and fails to keep its hands off the nose, eyes, and mouth, there’s a great likelihood of catching the virus. 

Moreover, it takes a maximum of four days for the flu to incubate, but infected individuals become contagious once the first symptoms develop. They remain contagious during a period of six days, while people with a poor immune system are likely to remain infectious for longer. 

Symptoms

Influenza most commonly results in mild to severe symptoms, but it can also cause life-threatening complications. The initial symptoms of the flu are similar to the ones of a common cold, in the form of chills, sneezing, and sore throat. Unlike colds, whose symptoms develop gradually, the symptoms of influenza are known to develop abruptly. 

After the initial symptoms, patients are likely to experience high fever, runny nose, dry cough, and nasal congestion. Most individuals also experience severe headaches and unusual fatigue, which can last for more than two weeks. Some patients experience diarrhea and vomiting, even though these are considered less common symptoms. 

Nevertheless, influenza might cause moderate to severe complications, some of which can be fatal. Sinus infections are considered as moderate flu complications that last for longer than two weeks, whereas pneumonia is undoubtedly the most severe complication. Besides pneumonia, influenza might cause complications in the form of myocarditis, encephalitis, or kidney failure, and worsen the symptoms of asthma and other chronic health issues.

High-risk groups

There is a myriad of factors that contribute to the development of influenza, hence affecting people of all ages. Anyhow, certain groups are considered as particularly susceptible to experiencing complications due to their age or existing medical conditions.

In terms of age, individuals older than 65 years, as well as infants younger than 12 months are more prone to developing seasonal flu. Additionally, people suffering from chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease are at higher risk of experiencing complications. Read more about flu risk factors and complications.

Moreover, pregnant women, people with a weak immune system and, obese individuals are more likely to experience complications. 

Prevention and treatment

Regarding flu treatment, certain types of medications are believed to be effective in relieving some of the symptoms. For instance, cough suppressants are useful for treating dry cough, while ibuprofen and acetaminophen are used for reducing fever. Since antibiotics aren’t beneficial in the treatment of viral infections, these are only supposed to be taken in the event of developing pneumonia. 

In contrast, antiviral medications are often prescribed to patients for relieving the symptoms. However, flu vaccines are believed to be the most efficient for preventing influenza as long as these are taken two weeks before developing an infection. 

Apart from taking medications, patients are advised to rest and consume plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration. Also, nasal irrigation, steamy baths, and throat lozenges are recommended for faster treatment. Visit the following link, https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/treating-flu-at-home?fbclid=IwAR0aIks4Nskzm296pf8yyaa5TZ5odgsrxmNovxPPyfTWTycKPIA6wuR94Vs#2, to learn some useful home remedies for the flu.

Bottom line

The right treatment is essential for preventing influenza-related complications. 

Take proper care of your health!