Overview of Influenza
Influenza also is known as flu is a respiratory illness caused by Influenza virus. Flu is contagious and its symptoms usually last up to 7 to 14 days. Its symptoms include a sore throat, high fever, headache, chills, body pain, cough, sneezing, etc. Influenza virus is divided into 3 parts but influenza A is the common cause of most of the problems. Flu normally spreads by coughing or sneezing of an infected person. It can also spread from one person to another by touching infected person such as shaking hands, etc.
Pregnant women, adults over 65, young children, people with diabetes, people with chest problems such as asthma or bronchitis, people with cardiovascular disease, people with kidney disease and people taking steroids are at more risk of experiencing influenza/flu complications.
Influenza can also be treated with the help of few preventive tips such as quit smoking, consume plenty of fluids, take rest, avoid alcohol, get vaccinated, stay away from individuals suffering from flu, wash your hands regularly, cover your nose/mouth while coughing/sneezing, wear a surgical mask, etc. Some home remedies such as consuming honey, lemon, ginger, garlic, etc. are very helpful in the treatment of influenza.
Influenza virus A and B are the most common causes of Influenza/Flu.
- Eat balanced and healthy diet to keep your body as healthy as possible.
- Consume plenty of fluids
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Getting vaccinated will protect you against flu.
- Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Stop smoking and avoid alcohol.
- Exercise regularly and keep your immune system strong.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes if you’re around people with flu.
- Avoid sharing glasses/utensils.
- Wash your hands regularly, particularly during the cold season.
- Wear a surgical mask as it will help you if you’re exposed to dust or fumes.
- Stay away from individuals suffering from cold or flu.
- Wash the hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection.
Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It helps to reduce the symptoms of flu and also boosts your immune system. Honey is also known as an effective cough suppressant.
- Add 1 tsp of honey and few drops of lemon juice to a glass of water. Drink it twice or thrice daily. Honey and lemon together are very soothing to the throat and also relieves congestion.
- Mix 1 tsp of honey to a cup of water and drink it once or twice daily. This will help to treat throat inflammation and congestion.
- Mix 1 tsp of honey and few drops of juice extracted from few fresh basil leaves. Take it daily for few days.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties which help to relieve in influenza. It also strengthens the immune system and is very helpful in treating flu.
- Ginger tea is very helpful in treating influenza. Add a small piece of ginger to a cup of boiling water; let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Then add 1 tsp of honey in it and drink it twice or thrice daily for few days.
- You can also use a small piece of ginger and eat it daily for few days.
- Ginger can be eaten raw or can also be used in cooking. You can add fresh ginger slices to your bowl of soup as well as other dishes.
Lemon has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also loaded with Vitamin C which has many health benefits and helps to support the body’s natural defense.
- Add Fresh lemon juice and 1 tsp of honey to your cup of tea. It helps to speed up the healing process.
- Add juice of 1 lemon to a glass of warm water. Drink it daily for few days.
Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It contains immune-boosting compound allicin which helps to relieve the symptoms of flu.
- Add 2-3 chopped fresh garlic cloves to a cup of boiling water. Let it boil for few minutes, strain it and drink it twice or thrice daily for few days.
- You can also chew 1 garlic clove daily for better results.
Usually, people suffering from influenza are suggested to drink lots of water, take rest, etc. Influenza needs proper medical care but in most of the cases it goes away on its own but tiredness can persist for a month or more. If you are suffering from influenza try these treatments such as:
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks during medications, stay at home, Eat balanced and healthy diet, Quit smoking, Try avoiding exposure to environmental smoke, Get plenty of rest, avoid contact with others, etc.
- Drinking lots of water will help to thin out the mucus, moist the throat, avoid dehydration and will loosen nasal mucus; which is very relieving. Doctors usually advise their patients with respiratory infections to increase their fluid intake. Foods such as ginger, garlic, honey, lemon, etc are the natural treatment for influenza.
Treatment of influenza depends on its type, causes, and symptoms. Different medications are available for the treatment of influenza. Medications include pain relievers, antiviral and cough medicines.
Antiviral medicines such as zanamivir (Relenza), oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and peramivir are used for the treatment of influenza virus A and B. Medicines such as amantadine and rimantadine are used in the treatment of influenza A only.
In some cases, doctors may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to treat few symptoms of influenza such as coughs, congestion, and dehydration. It includes medicines as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), aspirin (not for children below 12 years of age), NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), dextromethorphan (Delsym), guaifenesin (Mucinex) and oral fluids.
When to see a Doctor?
Consult your doctor immediately if:
- The patient feel seriously ill
- High fever even after 4-5 days
- Symptoms worsen
- Patient is elder