FLU - Watsons Health

FLU

An extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses.

Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.

Divided into three general categories: types A, B, and C which all can mutate, or change into new strains, and type A influenza mutates often, yielding new strains of the virus every few years. As such, you can never develop a permanent immunity to influenza. Even if you develop antibodies against a flu virus one year, those antibodies are unlikely to protect you against a new strain of the flu virus the next year.

Normal flu symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Influenza rapid diagnostic test
    • Can help distinguish between influenza A and B virus
    • A sample from the back of your nose or throat via swabbing your nasal passage or throat then run the rapid test on site or send it to a lab for testing
    • It usually provide results within 15 minutes.

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Medications include:

Antivirals

  • Reduce the severity and shorten the duration of influenza (flu) symptoms by 1 to 1½ days if given within 48 hours of the first symptoms.
  • Not intended to substitute for getting a flu vaccine each year.
  • It may help control outbreaks and prevent the spread of infection, especially in people at high risk for flu complications.
  • Oseltamivir and zanamivir are used to prevent and treat influenza A and B infections.
    • reduce the severity and shorten the duration of flu symptoms.

Most people do not need antiviral medicines. They recover from influenza without having complications.

You cannot prevent the flu or make yourself feel better faster by taking:

  • Large doses of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C or zinc.
  • Herbal remedies, such as echinacea.

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