What is flu?

Flu or influenza is an infectious disease that usually affects mammals and birds.

What causes flu?

This infectious disease is caused by RNA viruses specifically of the Orthomyxoviridae family commonly called influenza viruses.

How will I know if a person has flu?

A person who has flu usually experiences some of the following symptoms: fatigue, coughing, headache, muscle pains, sore throat, fever, chills and general discomfort. When a person is experiencing these symptoms, there is a big chance that he/she has flu.

Some of the symptoms mentioned are also symptoms of common colds. How will I know the difference?

Flu is often mistaken for cold because of the running nose and sneezing symptoms. However, there are differences between flu and common colds that help in distinguishing the two. When you have flu, there’s a big chance that you’ll also have fever. You won’t have fever when you have common colds. You also feel exhausted when you have flu which may not be true when you have common colds.

If flu is contagious, how is it transmitted from one person to another?

Just like common colds, you get the disease from the infected person through direct contact such as sharing of personal stuff like spoon, fork and towel. When you know a person who is infected, don’t share personal stuff with him. Keep away also from infected persons who don’t cover their mouth when they sneeze. When you stand in front of the infected person when they sneeze, there’s a big chance that you’ll be affected with flu.

How do you treat flu?

Flu is a viral disease and has no cure. The treatment that will be applied depends on the symptoms of the ailment. If you have nasal or sinus blockage, take a decongestant to minimize the blockage. You may also try to use a nasal spray that can be bought over-the-counter. Saline spray is also good for blocked nasal passages.

If you have running nose and watery eyes, you can treat this with antihistamine. However, you need to be extra careful when combining antihistamine with decongestant. There are brands that have reactions when combined. Always consult your doctor when trying to treat the symptoms of flu.

What can I do to prevent flu?

There are many ways that protect you from having flu. First, have a healthy lifestyle. Always eat healthy and nutritious food. Have plenty of rest and exercise regularly. Minimize consumption of alcoholic drinks and when possible quit smoking.

Protect yourself from germs. Wash your hands regularly. When you know someone who has flu, as much as possible avoid contact. Don’t try to share personal items with the person who has flu.

You can also try flu vaccine. The government recommends this especially before the flu season.

Is flu vaccine safe?

The government has endorsed the use of flu vaccine however there have been reports that relate miscarriage and flu vaccine. There are those that say that miscarriages have spiked with the use of flu vaccine. To be safe, pregnant women and children should refrain from using flu vaccine. Aside from this issue, flu vaccine is relatively safe.

Read more about the current flu season in the US…

Surviving the Dreaded Flu Pandemic / How to avoid the flu

A flu epidemic is always a possibility, especially with the seasonal flu. But flu pandemic is on a different level. It is a flu infection of global scale and often causes the death of millions of people. We have recorded 2 deadly flu pandemics, the 1918 Spanish Flu and the 2009 Swine Flu, both caused by the dreaded H1N1 flu virus. And medical scientists are expecting the same virus to strike once again in the future. So how do you prepare for the coming flu pandemic?

Hygiene and Cleanliness
It is important to remember that the H1N1 virus is just like any other strand of influenza virus when it comes to how it spreads to people. The virus is spread through touch and from the discharges (cough and sneeze) of people infected by it. So always remember to wash your hands before getting them to your face and to cover your mouth and nose when going around with other people.

Eat healthy
Boosting your immune system will increase your chance of being able to survive the flu pandemic. This is a great contingency plan since we are prone to making mistakes such as missing a chance to clean our hands when we are busy doing things. Although healthy people still get infected by the flu virus that causes pandemics, they also have a much better chance of getting better than the unhealthy ones.

Avoid hospitals and clinics
If you have not gotten the flu virus then there is no need to go to clinics and hospitals that are filled with sick people. These places are exposed to the flu virus thanks to the hundreds and thousands of infected people going there to get a cure. The only exception for this is when you need to have a love one examined by a doctor. But be sure to wear protective masked when you go to hospitals and clinics.

Have a stock of supplies
Pandemics normally cause people to go on a panic buying. So when you see the signs of a flu pandemic start shopping for supplies and buy lots of them. Food, clean water, tools and other essentials must be prioritized early on before the chaos starts. When the panic begins you will not be among the crowd of people competing for supplies which can lead to violence.

Stay indoors
When you stock pile supplies be sure that you have enough to prevent you from going out to buy more. Getting exposed to other people during a flu pandemic is a sure way to get infected. So avoid going out of your house if you can. If that is not possible then you have to avoid other people when you go out.

These are the things that you have to do to survive the coming flu pandemic. And this information is based on experiences of people who have experienced and survived the previous flu pandemics. So have a hard copy of this list so when you see news of a possible pandemic waiting to happen you are well prepared for it.

Flu Treatments And The Truth Behind Them

Influenza, or commonly called as flu, is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. This virus is airborne and highly contagious. It enters the human body through the mouth and/or nose and binds around the sialic acids along the epithelial cells inside the nose down to the lungs with a protein called hemagglutinin. The human body then absorbs those viruses carried by cells on a process called endocytosis. Once absorbed, the virus then reproduces and multiplies, causing it to mutate and spread throughout the body. It’s a pretty sophisticated process, and strains of the virus usually changes from time to time, making it hard and confusing for the body’s immune system to ward off the virus and stop the infection. And this is where the nagging symptoms start to show up.

Often times, most people confuse flu with common colds because of the similarities of their symptoms. However, it is important to understand that, flu symptoms are far worse than the symptoms in common colds and this impose various health risks, especially to children and elderly individuals with weaker immune system. Children, for example, may experience distressing symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Treating Flu and its Symptoms 

Flu is caused by a virus, so before you rush into your nearest pharmacy and panic-buy for medicines, you need to understand that there’s nothing much you can do but to let the virus run its course and help your body’s immune system on dealing with it. Yes, your first and last line of defense is your immune system. You can strengthen your immune system to regain health and effectively combat the virus and ward it off from your body.

Of course, flu comes with symptoms, and these are always distressing and nagging symptoms. However, you don’t have to endure all these symptoms, as you can always use medications and treatments to lessen the effect of the prevailing and most annoying ones.

Medications for flu are used simply to alleviate distressful and painful symptoms. The most common treatment for this illness is still quite generic – drinking plenty of water, bed rest, and taking Paracetamol to alleviate the effects of the symptoms. However, you need to understand that, the effects of the virus differ from one person to another. This is why doctors suggest treating the illness from its most prevalent symptom. Here are the most common flu symptoms and their treatments.

Flu with Nasal Congestion

The flu virus will cause the nasal passages to get congested and swollen, and it can be the most annoying symptoms that go along with the infection. A good common relief for this symptom can be bought over the counter, such as decongestants and nasal sprays. However, spray shouldn’t be used more than 5 days, to avoid rebound congestion.

There are doctors who prescribe medicated or saline spray. Saline spray is a pretty popular choice, as it loosens the mucous along the nasal passage and doesn’t usually risk rebound effect.

For People with High Blood Pressure

Decongestants are usually over-the-counter drugs, but it’s still important to seek doctor’s approval before taking it, especially if you have an existing high blood pressure issues, as decongestants can cause the blood pressure to surge and increase heart rate. However, if you’re taking medications for high blood pressure, then decongestants shouldn’t be a big problem. But then again, you should keep an eye of your health.

Flu with Cough

Flu usually comes with cough, which is important to clear the lung from pollutants and bacteria-carrying phlegm out of the lungs. There are so many prescription and non-prescription medications for flu with cough, but for those with persistent and painful cough, it’s wiser to seek for professional diagnosis. Pharmacists in your nearest drugstore can also suggest for suitable medications for the symptom.

Flu with Sore Throat

Salt water gargle (where you mix a teaspoon of salt in a lukewarm water and gargle) and drinking lots of fluids is the most popular and effective quick remedy for sore throat, especially when you wake up in the morning. Sore throat is usually caused by bacterial infection, thus it’s always good to have your doctor diagnose the problem. Lozenges are also popular over-the-counter remedy, but they shouldn’t be taken for more than two days straight.

Flu with Body Aches and Fever

Kids are usually discouraged to take aspirins for pain relief and fever. Rather, milder over-the-counter drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen are advised. Go to your nearest drug store and ask your pharmacist for the best suitable remedy for flu with body aches and fever. Also, make sure you give your body plenty of bed rest.