Influenza is specifically an infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus.
Influenza virus increases the risk of developing other infections, such as viral or bacterial pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) that can damage the lungs and can become a life-threatening complication. At high risk of such complications are:
- Older people (65 and over)
- Young children
- Persons with chronic lung or heart disease
- Patients with other chronic diseases whose immune system is weakened
- Healthy pregnant women, especially from the second half of pregnancy
The flu is often referred to as any respiratory viral infection, for example, the so-called virus. “Cold” or “enterovirus”. However, it must be remembered that these are different diseases, and unlike the flu, both the course of the “cold” or the “enterovirus” and the complications are much milder. It is also worth noting that neither the influenza vaccine nor the influenza antiviral therapy (eg Tamiflu) is effective.
For more information on influenza in Georgia and its spread go to the link – Influenza Survival in Georgia
How to protect yourself from getting infected?
Flu protection or prevention can be prevented!
- Wash your hands regularly
- Immediately dispose of a trash can with used napkins and / or handkerchiefs
- If you don’t have a single handkerchief, slip or tie on the shirt’s face, not your hands
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Clean the surfaces of places and things that are common to many people on a regular basis
- Get the flu vaccine annually
How does the flu spread?
Influenza is transmitted in a very easy-to-air manner – by falling, tilting or in direct contact. It is also a way of frequent postponement when we manually touch the surface where the smallest particles emitted by the cough or fall of an infected person are touched and then with our own eyes, mouth or nose.
The infected person may be contagious even before the disease is detected. Adults are contagious 1 day before the onset of the disease and 5 days after the onset. Children are contagious for longer periods – up to 10 days.
What are the symptoms of influenza?
- Temperature rise
- Muscle pain
- Very strong weakness
- Nose Clamping
- Sore throat
Fever and other symptoms usually last for 7-10 days. Cough and weakness may last for 1-2 weeks or more.
How should we treat ourselves at home?
- Once symptoms appear:
- Stay at home (in semi-sleep mode)
- Get a lot of fluids (to replenish fluid loss due to fever)
- Do not smoke and ask others not to smoke at home
- Inhale moist air to cleanse the nasal passage. To do this, pour hot water into the reservoir and inhale the steam.
- Prescription antiviral therapy (eg tamiflu) may be prescribed by your doctor, but should be initiated within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear.
- It is possible to take non-reactive “colds and coughs” – acetaminophen (eg, thiolenol) or ibuprofen (eg, neurofen). Remember that they should only be taken in children under 6 only after consultation with a pediatrician.
- Aspirin may not be administered to patients under the age of 18 due to the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, which can lead to significant health deterioration (seizures, drowsiness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, altered consciousness and behavior, disorientation, hallucinations).
When should we seek immediate medical attention?
- If you get the flu symptoms and are in a high risk group for complications
- If your condition worsens, namely: you get shortness of breath, air shortages, chest pain, you have signs of dehydration – decreased urination and / or dizziness.
How is the flu different from colds?
It should be remembered that colds and flu are different diseases. Unlike the flu, the course and complications of “colds” are much lighter.
What is influenza vaccination and why should we vaccinate?
Annual influenza vaccination is the most effective and safe method of preventing the flu. During vaccination, the human body is exposed to the inactive (dead) virus, which naturally does not cause the disease, but results in the production of anti-influenza antibodies by the body.
What are the arguments for opposing vaccination?
Opponents of vaccination do not rely on facts but on myths, namely:
- Myth:Flu is not a serious disease
- Fact:Even in developed countries, hundreds of people die each year from the seasonal spread of the flu. Fatality is particularly common in high-risk patients (over 65 years, in young children, etc.)
- Myth: Thevaccine may have complications or side effects
- Fact:Flu vaccination is safe. Redness and pain of the injection site are relatively common. Rarely, it can cause minor head and / or muscle pain and general weakness.
- Myth:Annual vaccination slows down the immune system. Vaccination made in previous years is enough.
- Fact:Virus strains vary each season. Therefore, it is necessary to have annual vaccination against the expected strains.
- Myth:I am allergic and cannot be vaccinated.
- Fact:Most allergic patients get a good flu vaccine. It has also been found that people with egg allergies can be safely avoided. Pre-vaccination may also be performed before vaccination if needed.
- Myth:Vaccine is not effective. Avitzer last year, but I was still sick.
- Fact:Influenza vaccination does not prevent other respiratory viral or bacterial infections, such as colds or enterovirus, as they are not caused by the influenza virus. So called “Cold” or “enterovirus” are relatively mild diseases, and they are almost non-fatal. Influenza vaccination can only prevent a particularly severe respiratory infection – influenza, and if the disease still develops – it can lead to its mild course.
- Myth:Vaccination cannot be done during pregnancy
- Fact: Theflu vaccine has been found to be absolutely safe in pregnant women. On the contrary, the second half of pregnancy is at high risk and vaccination is strongly recommended.
- Myth:Vaccines cannot be breastfed
- Fact:Breastfeeding mothers have been found to be completely safe for both mothers and newborns.
What is the difference between a vaccine and an antiviral medication?
The vaccine is administered to prevent the development of influenza if it comes in contact with the virus. Vaccination results in the “training” of the body’s immune system against a particular type of virus.
Unlike the vaccine, antiviral drugs are a cure for an already infected person. They destroy the virus that gets into the body. Consequently, antiviral drugs cannot replace vaccination.
What is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is an oral antiviral medication. Detects activity against all clinically relevant influenza viruses. Its mechanism of action is to inhibit the action of neuraminidase on the surface of the influenza virus, which prevents the spread of the virus to other cells.
Tamiflu was first introduced to the market 19 years ago and since then Tamiflu has treated more than 90 million patients, including 30 million children, in about 80 countries around the world, including the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, the European Union, Switzerland and South America.
When is Tamiflu appointed?
Tamiflu is indicated for the treatment of influenza A and B viruses over two weeks of age and in some cases for the prevention of influenza in patients over 1 year of age. Tamiflu is the only antiviral drug recommended for infants up to 2 weeks of age.
Is Tamiflu Prescribed for Pregnant Women?
Pregnant women with influenza should be treated with the antiviral drug Tamiflut, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the outbreak of the flu may be more severe and harmful to the pregnant patient. In pregnant women, Tamiflu is prescribed only by a doctor.
For more information go to: http://www.flu.gov/individualfamily/parents/pregnant5tips.html
How is Tamiflu administered?
Tamiflu is used only as a prescription, orally (75 mg). The adult dose of Tamiflu is 75 mg twice daily for 5 days. In case of contact with the virus, the prophylactic dose is 1 capsule once daily, which can be taken up to 6 weeks. One package of Tamiflu contains 10 capsules needed for the full course of treatment. To achieve maximum effect, treatment should be initiated within 48 hours after symptoms appear.
In children, the dosing scheme is different and is indicated by the weight calculation (for proper dosing you should consult your pediatrician).
What is Tamiflu’s effectiveness?
The use of Tamiflu in the approved dosing regimen is accompanied by a 38% reduction in symptom severity, a reduction in secondary complications (bronchitis, pneumonia and sinusitis) by 67% in healthy individuals, and a 37% decrease in the duration of influenza.
Based on numerous observations, timely starting tamiflut treatment significantly reduces the duration and severity of the disease, the risk of complications, mortality, and the need for hospitalization. It is effective in both mild and severe disease, in outpatient and hospitalized patients, immunocompromised and pregnant. It also reduces virus separation and the potential for virus spread.
What side effects does Tamiflu have?
Taking any medicine may have the risk of developing side effects.
The most common side effects when taking Tamiflu are nausea and vomiting. Most of these cases occurred once or on the first day of treatment, and were resolved within 1-2 days. This side effect can be reduced by taking Tamiflu with food. Abdominal pain, nosebleeds, headaches and general weakness may also occur when taking the drug.