All you need to know about Influenza :


All you need to know about Influenza :


Influenza or influenza is a viral disease characterized by widespread seasonal outbreaks.

All you need to know about Influenza :

Influenza or influenza is a viral disease characterized by widespread seasonal outbreaks.

The cause of influenza is the influenza virus that is transmitted from one person to another through the respiratory system.

Influenza features

Influenza has several unique features, including:

1. Seasonal fixed

The influenza virus causes influenza in the winter in the northern hemisphere, in the summer in the southern hemisphere, and in rainy seasons in the tropics.

2. The ability to change

The influenza virus rapidly changes the structure of the proteins on its surface, deceiving the immune system that has already produced antibodies against its previous version. Thus, influenza can infect the same person more than once.

3. Widespread disease

When influenza breaks out, it infects many children and adults, about a third of children and 10% of adults, resulting in frequent absences from work and school, and putting severe pressure on hospitals and clinics.

Types of influenza viruses

Influenza is divided into three classes of viruses:

Influenza A: It can be the main cause of deadly epidemics on a global scale, affecting every 10 to 40 years.
Influenza B: causes milder and more limited outbreaks, and influenza viruses of influenza A and influenza B can be together or alone.
Influenza C: is a relatively stable virus, while previous viruses undergo permanent changes, with new strains always emerging.

Incubation period

The incubation period for influenza is short, less than 1-4 days, and after the incubation period, symptoms begin to appear.

A person with influenza can transmit the infection from one to two days before symptoms appear.

flu symptoms

Influenza first appears as a common cold, but colds usually develop slowly, while influenza appears and strikes suddenly, and while colds can be just a passing inconvenience, influenza makes a very bad general feeling.

Common symptoms of influenza include:

  • A high body temperature above 38 degrees in adults, and between 39.5-40 degrees in children and boys.
  • Chills and sweating.
  • a headache.
  • dry cough.
  • Muscle pain, especially in the back, arms, and legs.
  • Feeling of general weakness and fatigue.
  • stuffy nose;
  • Anorexia.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting in children.

Influenza risk factors and causes

Some many causes and factors increase the chance of contracting the flu:

Causes of influenza

Influenza viruses are transmitted in the air from tiny droplets by coughing, sneezing, or even talking to someone who has the flu.

These droplets can be inhaled directly from the air, or they can be touched through an object, such as a telephone, a computer keyboard, and the computer itself, and then transferred to the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The body produces antibodies against the type of influenza that it has, but these antibodies do not prevent infection from the influenza virus of another type, so doctors recommend annual influenza vaccination.

Vulnerable group

The groups most susceptible to influenza infection are:

  • Infants and young children.
  • People over 50 years old.
  • People who live in retirement homes or in nursing homes for a long time.
  • People who suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and lung disease.
  • People with a weakened immune system, as a result of taking medications, or due to HIV.
  • Pregnant women during flu season.
  • Workers in medical and treatment facilities, or in another location where they may be exposed to the influenza virus.
  • Persons in close and constant contact with infants or children.
  • Children who receive long-term aspirin therapy may be more susceptible to the influenza virus.

Influenza complications

Although you'll likely feel very upset and upset during it, the flu usually goes away without long-term effects.

But children and the elderly, who are at relatively high risk, may develop complications, such as:

  • Ear infections.
  • Acute sinus infections.
  • Bronchial infections.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Meningitis.

Among the complications mentioned constitute infection pneumococcal ( Pneumococci ) the most common complication and risk, to the extent that it may be fatal for the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases, so the vaccination against pneumonia and against the influenza virus provides optimal protection.

Influenza Diagnosis

Influenza is often diagnosed by the patient's symptoms.

In some cases, the doctor may resort to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the type of virus.

Influenza treatment

Influenza is treated with medicines to relieve symptoms, such as medicines to reduce body temperature and to relieve nasal mucus and cough.

Recently, two drugs designed to reduce the spread of the influenza virus in the body have been introduced to the market. These two drugs are:

  • Oseltamivir .
  • zanamivir

These two drugs are only effective if they are taken within the first two days of infection with the flu, or as prophylaxis after exposure to the virus.

Important information about taking antiviral medications

Medicines intended to treat influenza viruses A and B work by neutralizing an enzyme that the virus needs to grow and spread.

If the drug treatment is taken immediately after the first symptoms of influenza appear, this will help shorten the duration of the disease by one day to two days.

These drugs may cause side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and breathing problems, and can also lead to the development of viruses that are resistant to antiviral drugs.

In November 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required the company that makes oseltamivir to add to the label attached to the drug a warning for patients with influenza, especially children, of the risk of confusion and harm to themselves from taking the drug.

The FDA also advises people with influenza who have taken the medication to stay under constant surveillance for signs of unusual behavior.

In all cases, it is always recommended to consult a doctor before taking any medication in general, or an antiviral medication in particular.

Influenza prevention

The disease is prevented by vaccination, but influenza cannot be prevented by a one-time vaccination, but the vaccine (vaccine) must be obtained annually, to suit new types of influenza viruses.

It is important to vaccinate people at risk before the onset of winter between 9-10 months.

Categories recommended for vaccination

It is recommended to vaccinate:

  • Healthy adults over 50 years of age.
  • Women are expected to enter their second or third trimester of pregnancy during flu season.
  • Health workers.

Vaccination of children and people who are not in the most vulnerable groups, especially young children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, should be encouraged, as they may be at risk of complications from influenza.

Types of influenza vaccines

There are two types of vaccines:

  • Killed virus vaccine: which contains dead influenza virus, and is the most widely accepted vaccine today and is given by injection.
  • Live attenuated virus vaccine: which contains the virus itself, live but attenuated, and it is a vaccine under final approval and licensing, and its advantage is that it is given as a nasal spray so that the discomfort caused by injection is avoided.

Vaccine efficacy

The efficacy of the vaccine is very high between 70% - 100%, and there is a match between the types of vaccines and the types of disease in the relevant season.

Efficacy drops to approximately 40%-60% in the absence of such a match, or when the vaccination is administered to the elderly and infants, although efficacy against disease complications remains high even in these cases as well.

The vaccine does not cause influenza, and its side effects are minor and fleeting, but it is not suitable for people who are allergic to eggs.

Alternative therapies

There are no herbs that help treat influenza, some herbs and natural elements can relieve its symptoms, such as:

  • Licorice.
  • Hot guava drink.
  • pomegranate.
  • ginger;