Influenza is supposed to be a respiratory infection that could be caused by various influenza viruses. Influenza is commonly referred to as the flu and is primarily a viral infection that impacts the nose, throat, and the lungs. It is considered to be a contagious respiratory ailment with symptoms that could be mild to severe. It is often quite difficult to differentiate between the common cold and flu because they seem to have similar symptoms. In general, you must know that influenza symptoms are relatively severe and that they seem to last longer as compared to those of the common cold.
Influenza viruses are known to be traveling in droplets through the air. If someone is affected by influenza sneezes, coughs, or even talks, the droplets would be transmitted from one person to another through the air. You could inhale the infected droplets or you could touch some object like the computer keyboard, telephone, doorknobs, etc. and pick up the germs from there and transfer them directly to your nose, mouth, or even eyes.
Influenza patients are supposed to be highly contagious right from a couple of days before the first symptoms appear until about 10 days after the first symptoms had appeared. People with a weak immune system including children would remain contagious for a longer period.
The Ever-Changing Influenza Viruses
Influenza viruses are changing constantly and new strains are constantly emerging. If you had experienced a bout of influenza before, your body is well-equipped with antibodies to combat that particular strain of the influenza virus. If all your future flu viruses seem similar to the ones you had already encountered in the past, by vaccination, or by experiencing it already, those antibodies would be present in your body to diminish the severity of the symptoms or even prevent infection.
However, antibodies against a specific type of flu viruses that you had already experienced lately, cannot safeguard you against any new flu subtypes which could be drastically different immunologically from the previous ones. You could visit MyBiosource, leader for antigens and learn more about the antibody and antigen products.
Some Common Influenza Symptoms
In the beginning, influenza may seem almost same as a common cold with similar symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and even sore throat. However, one basic difference is that it takes time for colds to develop whereas; the flu would attack you all of a sudden. A common cold could be pretty irritating but influenza would make you feel a lot worse.
- Fever over 100.4 F
- Chills and sweats
- Fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness
- Aching muscles, particularly, in your legs, arms, and even the back.
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Dry, tireless cough
Is Doctor’s Consultation Necessary?
Most patients could tackle influenza by treating themselves very much at home. More often than not, they do not consult a doctor. However, if you have full-fledged flu symptoms and if you are at risk of some complications, you must make it a point to see your doctor at the earliest possible. If you take some anti-viral drugs prescribed by your doctor within 48 hours after the symptoms manifested themselves, the period of illness could be effectively reduced and there would be no further serious repercussions of influenza.
If you are fit and young, influenza generally, does not pose any serious threats. Even though influenza could make you feel quite miserable while it lasts, it would be going away within a week or so and leave behind no lasting impressions. However, children and older adults are at a high risk of influenza complications such as:
- Asthma flare-ups
- Ear infections
- Heart issues
You need to be alert and consult your physician as soon as you see symptoms in case of children and older adults. Prompt medical intervention would save a lot of anxiety and stress.
If you wish to stay away from the influenza virus, you may opt for a flu vaccination once every year. The vaccine is advised by doctors for everyone from six months infants to the elderly people. The vaccine is designed to safeguard you from most of the common influenza strains. However, you must note that influenza vaccine does not happen to be 100 percent successful. But the success rate is as much as 50% to 60%, which is pretty impressive. Always consult your doctor before taking the influenza vaccine or the anti-viral medications.