Everything you need to know about the flu virus
Categories: Health and MedicineBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-flu-virus.html
How do we get infected with the flu and how long has the patient been the source of infection? Is there a cure for the flu, is it necessary to take vitamin C during the illness? In this article, we will dispel all the myths about the flu, tell you about common mistakes in treatment, as well as about nutrition during this extremely unpleasant disease. Here you will find everything you need to know about the flu virus.
Is it possible to cure the flu with such "anti-flu" drugs as "Antigrippin", "Teraflu", "Fervex", etc.? (All photos: Shutterstock)
No. The mentioned and similar drugs only relieve the symptoms of the disease, but do not treat it. However, remember that taking antipyretic and anti-inflammatory drugs at the same time, you can not help yourself, but harm yourself, because very often they contain the same active substances, for example paracetamol. Therefore, taking several powders at once, you can exceed its safe dose, which in turn can lead to damage to the liver and kidneys.
Is there a cure for the flu? Yes, there is a new generation of flu drugs, the so-called neuraminidase inhibitors. These drugs are used not only in the treatment, but also in the prevention of influenza. They are effective only if they are taken at the very beginning of the disease, i.e. within 36-48 hours from the onset of symptoms.
Does vitamin C help in the treatment of influenza?
Vitamin C does not help in the treatment of influenza, but it does not harm either. According to scientific studies, vitamin C has no effect on the course of viral infection. It is proved that regular use of vitamin C prevents infections only in athletes, whose preventive intake of this vitamin reduces the risk of colds by half.
What is the difference between the flu and the common cold and how can they be distinguished?
Flu symptoms are not specific, which means that various clinical symptoms caused by the flu virus can also be caused by other respiratory viruses, including flu-like viruses. There are more than 200 viruses that can cause similar symptoms as with the flu.
A characteristic feature of a cold, as a rule, is a decrease in nasal patency, i.e. a runny nose, fatigue, weakness, redness of the eyes, cough. High fever, chills, loss of appetite, headaches are rarely observed with a cold.
The clinical picture of the flu looks somewhat different: the disease begins suddenly, it is characterized by a high temperature, often above 39 degrees, which lasts up to 3 days, chills, headache, joint and muscle pain, severe weakness, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, dry cough attacks.
Is it possible to diagnose the flu at home?
The diagnosis of "flu" can be made on the basis of clinical symptoms only during epidemics. But today there are so-called rapid tests for the flu, which in a few minutes will allow you to diagnose the disease and start its adequate treatment.
How long can a flu patient infect other people?
An adult with the flu can infect others within 3-5 days of the onset of symptoms, and a child can remain a source of infection even up to 7 days.
How do we get the flu?
During direct contact with a person infected with the flu virus. The virus is transmitted by inhaling microscopic secretions from the patient's respiratory tract. The highest contagion occurs at the beginning of the disease.
No. Antibiotics do not help in the treatment of influenza, because they are used only to fight bacteria, not viruses. Therefore, if you have a flu infection, you should avoid taking antibiotics if there are no medical indications for this.
How can you protect yourself and your family from getting infected with the flu virus?
The most effective and cheap way to prevent influenza is vaccination. According to WHO recommendations, everyone can get a flu shot, children are vaccinated starting from the age of 6 months. But vaccination is especially important for people from high-risk groups — these are elderly people over 65 years old, adults and children with chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, respiratory tract, kidneys, patients with diabetes, HIV or cancer, as well as patients with immunosuppression, carriers of streptococci, staphylococci or Haemophilus bacillus.
How can a vaccine created in the previous flu season help in the fight against new flu viruses, which are known to mutate very quickly?
Thanks to the use of the latest methods of molecular biology, the strains of the influenza virus used for the flu vaccine are almost 100% compatible with those that will appear in the next seasons, which is confirmed by laboratory studies.
When is the best time to get a flu shot? Is it true that it needs to be done before October?
There are no special deadlines for vaccination, but people from the high-risk group should be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine for the current season is available in pharmacies. The doctor decides when you need to be vaccinated, which takes into account your state of health, whether you are taking antibiotics, have not done other vaccinations in the near future.
Many people believe that vaccination against influenza is ineffective, and pharmaceutical companies create vaccines only for the sake of profit, is this true?
Vaccines are the benefit of modern medicine, which have helped humanity cope with many diseases that previously posed a deadly danger to humans. Currently, thanks to vaccination, many diseases are easier, and some are completely eliminated. The situation is similar with the flu virus — for decades, vaccination against influenza has become an effective way to combat it. Therefore, to consider the flu vaccination in the category of profits of pharmaceutical companies means to cross out the results of scientific achievements of many scientists.
Drink, drink, and drink again.
During the flu, you need to drink much more drinks than usual. During the disease, our body loses a lot of fluid and needs to replenish it in order to function normally and fight infection. The best drink during the flu is water with honey and lemon juice-it especially helps with sore throats and coughs. According to research by Israeli scientists, children who took 10 g of honey half an hour before bedtime coughed less and slept better. In addition, this warm drink has a calming and therapeutic effect on the upper respiratory tract, and the taste of citrus fruits (lemon) improves mood.
Also drink herbal tea with lime, which has a diaphoretic effect and relieves fever, as well as tea with ginger, which stimulates the immune system.
Do not drink cough syrup before going to bed.
If you have a wet cough, an expectorant can help you, but you should take it 4 hours before bedtime. Otherwise, you will cough all night.
Be sure to take antipyretic drugs, but only at a temperature above 38.5 degrees.
High body temperature helps our body to fight infection. But if the temperature is rising rapidly and has reached 38.5 degrees Celsius, you should immediately take antipyretics. Too high a temperature can be dangerous for the brain. You can also do cold compresses on the forehead, neck and in the groin area.
During the flu, you need to stay at home, rest and be treated.
A patient with the flu needs to rest a lot so that the body effectively fights the infection. During the illness, it is advisable to stay at home, because the weakened body is exposed to other infections, and also because the patient himself is a source of infection of other people.
Do not underestimate the flu virus, because it can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, otitis, and even myocarditis — a lesion of the heart muscle.
How to treat a runny nose?
Inhalations are effective for a runny nose: add a few drops of essential oils — pine, lavender, eucalyptus — to a bowl with boiling water-bend over it, covering yourself with a towel and breathe over the steam for 5 minutes. In the fight against a runny nose, sea water or saline solution will also help you, which cleanses the nose well. And of course, special drops for a runny nose, which can be used for about three days, so as not to dry out the nasal mucosa.
Cough will help not only syrups, but also warming ointments, which should be rubbed on the chest and back.
If you have a sore throat, rinse it with a warm infusion of chamomile or thyme. And also drink a warm hour with lemon and honey.
Prevention of influenza.
Drink probiotics and prebiotics, which are very effective in the prevention and treatment of flu and colds. Eat foods containing probiotics, such as yoghurts with live cultures of bacteria, sauerkraut and pickled cucumbers. Their preventive effect has been proven in many scientific studies: people who eat foods with probiotics are about three times less likely to suffer from infectious diseases.
From colds and flu-vitamin D.
This vitamin strengthens the immune system. The journal PLoS One has published data from 11 scientific studies that prove that vitamin D protects us from respiratory tract infections.
Wash your hands.
An excellent preventive remedy for the flu is washing your hands with soap in warm water (at least 20 seconds). You can also use antibacterial gels and hand wipes, but, as it turned out, their use is less effective than simply washing your hands.
And finally, what to eat during the flu, when there is no appetite?
Chicken broth is an excellent remedy for colds and flu. And all because during its preparation, cysteine (an amino acid) is released, which improves bronchial secretion, i.e. coughing. In addition, the broth will provide our body with protein and zinc, which strengthen the immune system. Warm soup also perfectly moisturizes and warms our body, which is very important for fighting the flu and colds.
It will help to relieve sore throat, reduce puffiness and bring relief if there is a feeling of dryness in the throat. In addition, it perfectly moisturizes, which is especially important for the flu. Sorbet, made 100 percent from fruit juices, will provide you with nutrients and vitamins. We recommend you a sorbet made from strawberries, apples or grapes.
It has long been used by humans in the treatment of colds and flu, and all because it actively stimulates the immune system.
Perfect for those who have no appetite. They hydrate our body well and supply a lot of nutrients, so they can replace our usual food during illness.