Influenza is a viral infection involving the respiratory system. It is often referred to as flu however keep in mind that it is different from the stomach flu, that is an infection involving gastrointestinal tract manifesting in the form of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
It is caused by influenza virus that is of three types, A, B, and C. It is one of the most common infectious diseases that is mainly spread by airborne droplets as well as direct contact with the infected individuals or the objects used by them. Except for being really annoying and troublesome for the patient, it is not that dangerous in most of the cases. In certain groups such as children and elderly population it may however result in serious complications.
The symptoms commonly noticed in the settings of influenza are summarized below.
- High grade fever
- Shivering, Rigors and Chills
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Cough that is usually dry in nature
- Nasal stuffiness
- Weakness and malaise
- Runny nose
- Itchy red eyes
Influenza Risk Factors
The factors that are likely to increase the risk of catching influenza are as under.
- Influenza is more likely to affect young children and elderly population.
- In patients having a compromised immunity such as those suffering from HIV/AIDS or those taking steroids of anti-cancer medications are more likely to catch influenza virus as compared to the normal population.
- Certain disease such as uncontrolled diabetes mellitus and asthma also puts you at an increased risk of catching flu.
Downtown Medical Center Informing about Influenza Complications
In young otherwise healthy people influenza is a self-limiting disease that usually does not cause any complications. In certain groups such as children, elderly people and immuno-compromised patients it may cause one or more of the following complications.
- Ear infections
It is believed that a viral infection such as influenza may decrease your immunity to a certain extent. This transient weakened immune state puts you at more risk of developing these secondary bacterial infections.
Take some good rest and drink plenty of fluids. This is all what you need if you are young otherwise healthy patients. However in case if the symptoms are more troublesome you may need to see a doctor in Century Medical and Dental Center, who may prescribe you some antiviral drugs in addition to drugs aimed to ease your symptoms.
- Antiviral therapy is not always indicated, however at times our downtown medical center doctor may prescribe you with antiviral medications such as Oseltamivir and Zanamivir. These medications not only decrease the duration of the flue by a day or two but are also helpful in preventing above mentioned serious complications occurring secondary to influenza.
- In addition, our Brooklyn internal medicine doctor may also provide you with the medications such as Paracetamol and Mefenamic acid to relieve the body aches and fever as well as some antihistamines to treat nasal stuffiness, runny nose and itching of the eyes.