Influenza is a seasonal flu. The disease comes on very suddenly, so much so that it can be pin pointed when symptoms start appearing. Influenza virus causes this flu. Influenza is classified as Type A Influenza and Type B Influenza. Each of these two includes several strains or subtypes. Type A influenza outbreak occurs in early winter or late fall, usually.
It is important to note that frequent virus changes are seen in the influenza virus. Hence if one strain causes flu, it does not give complete immunity to other strains. When antigenic shifts happen then widespread outbreaks occur about every decade. When antigenic drifts happen, then minor changes occur in the virus nearly every year.
Symptoms of the disease include muscle pain, body aches, fever that could reach 106F, headaches, painful eye movement, fatigue, sore or dry throat, appetite loss, runny nose and dry cough.
It takes around a week or two and may be longer for complete recovery from influenza. Weakness and fatigue too could last for many weeks. People with health issues like lung disease and heart disease may face complications. If the person is healthy, the flu goes away in a week. Worst symptoms last during the first three days but can be eased away with treatment at home.
If symptoms are severe or the person develops pneumonia, treatment in hospital is needed. Antiviral medication is administered by the doctor, to shorten duration, severity, symptoms of the disease, control outbreaks, reduce virus spread and complications of flu. If symptoms are severe it is best to contact a doctor immediately. Influenza vaccine is available to get immunized and prevent spread of influenza. These need to be taken periodically for effective control.
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To treat it, the person needs to take plenty of fluids and bed rest. However in certain cases, antiviral medications like Zanamivir or Oseltamivir may be prescribed by the doctor. Main reason for administering this medication is to reducing severity of the complications.