Seasonal flu is an acute infectious disease caused by influenza A and B viruses. It infects the respiratory system (nose, throat, lungs). Seasonal influenza virus circulates every year, which causes influenza morbidity in humans. Currently, mainly A/H3p circulates in all regions of Georgia. There are 4 types of seasonal flu viruses, types A, B, C, and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal outbreaks of the disease.
For the most part, a person with the flu is contagious 1 day before the symptoms of the disease appear and for another 5-7 days (sometimes more) after the appearance. Children are usually contagious for more than 7 days.
Influenza is characterized by both mild and severe course and may even end with a lethal outcome. Unlike a simple cold, the flu starts acutely.
Its characteristic symptoms are:
- common weakness;
- fever >38 0C;
- pharyngitis (sore throat);
- discharge from the nose;
- pain in the muscles;
- Rarely, diarrhea and/or vomiting.
Influenza can cause life-threatening complications, especially in high-risk groups.
Complications of flu are:
- Pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) – shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, hypoxia, cyanosis;
- disorders of the central nervous system (loss of consciousness or confusion, drowsiness, convulsions, sharp muscle weakness or paralysis);
- severe dehydration of the body (dehydration);
- complications of concomitant diseases (eg: congestive heart failure, asthma and diabetes);
- Ear infections, sinusitis in children. Infants may develop febrile convulsions during the flu, false croup syndrome.
Those at high risk of secondary flu complications, hospitalization and lethality are:
- Babies and young children, especially under 2 years old;
- pregnant women and the elderly over 65;
- People with chronic diseases (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic liver and kidney diseases, etc.).
In terms of transmission, seasonal flu spreads easily, moving quickly to crowded places, including schools and nursing homes. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets containing viruses (infectious droplets) are released into the air and can spread up to one meter and infect people.
To prevent transmission, it is necessary to cover your mouth when coughing, it is better to use a mask and wash your hands regularly.
In most cases, influenza is diagnosed clinically. However, during periods of low influenza activity and outdoor epidemic situations, infection with other respiratory viruses, i.e. Rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus can also present as influenza-like illness (ILI), making it difficult to clinically differentiate influenza from other pathogens.
A definitive diagnostics requires the collection of appropriate respiratory samples and the use of a laboratory diagnostic test. Proper collection, storage, and transport of respiratory specimens is an essential first step in the laboratory detection of influenza virus infections. There are antiviral drugs that can be used to treat the flu. Antiviral drugs should be taken only as prescribed by a doctor.
Remember! Self-medication with antibiotics or other drugs is categorically unacceptable!
Patients who are not at high risk should be treated symptomatically, and if symptomatic, they are advised to stay at home to reduce the risk of infecting others.
Treatment is aimed at relieving flu symptoms such as fever. Patients should monitor themselves to determine if their condition worsens and seek medical attention.
During the course without complications, the body temperature normalizes within 1-4 days, and recovery begins on the 7-10th day. Irritation of the respiratory tract may remain for 14-20 days after the transmitted infection. Cough, weakness, irritability appear (asthenic syndrome).
The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated against the flu!
Pregnant women and people with chronic diseases should be especially careful - avoid places of mass gathering! As soon as flu symptoms appear, consult a doctor!
WHO recommends annual vaccination:
- pregnant at any stage of pregnancy;
- children from 6 months to 5 years;
- the elderly (over 65 years of age);
- people with chronic diseases;
- health care workers.
Both healthy people and people with the flu should wash their hands as often as possible with soap and running water to reduce the possibility of hand-to-hand transmission of the virus; ventilate the living space as often as possible and tidy up in a wet manner;
Self-isolation of patients:
- If you have a high temperature with pain in the head, muscles, joints and throat, stay at home, avoid contact with healthy people;
- Treat symptomatically - take antipyretics (except aspirin), pain relievers, etc.
- If such symptoms as - difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, cyanosis of the nose-lip area, pink bloody sputum, lethargy, in infants - inability to suck the breast, dehydration, tension of the collarbone - consult a doctor immediately! Maybe you need hospitalization and specific treatment!
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