Seasonal influenza (flu) can be transmitted year-round but is more common in the winter season.
Infections usually peak between December and February.
General precautions are recommended during flu season.
High Risk Groups
Anyone can catch a flu but some people are more susceptible and have higher chances for development of pneumonia.
Therefore, special precautions should be taken in children less than 2 years of age, elderly above the age of 65years, patients of Diabetes especially with uncontrolled glucose, Persons with multiple diseases, immunocompromised status, cancer patients, bed ridden patients.
Symptoms & Complications
Symptoms range from mild to severe and often include fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing, and fatigue.
These symptoms begin from one to four days after exposure to the virus and last for about 2–8 days. Diarrhea and vomiting can occur, particularly in children.
Influenza may progress to pneumonia which can be caused by the virus or by a subsequent secondary bacterial infection.
Warning symptoms to watch out for are
-Bouts of cough
-Blood in sputum
-Listlessness or extreme fatigue
-Loss of appetite
Other complications of infection include acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, respiratory failure, and worsening of pre-existing health problems such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.
-Getting an annual flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to prevent infection, and it can also reduce the severity and duration of illness.
-Good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette.
-Avoidance of over crowded places.
-Staying home when sick are components of flu prevention.
-Improving ventilation can also minimize the inhalation of influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses that may be circulating.
-Take your medications timely.
-Optimal control of Diavetes, Asthma and other chronic diseases helps keep serious infections at bay.
– Nutritional deficiencies like that of Vitamin D and Iron should be appropriately addressed.
Treatment of influenza in cases of mild or moderate illness is supportive and includes anti-fever medications, adequate fluid intake to avoid dehydration.
Cough syrups and throat lozenges may be beneficial for sore throat. It is recommended to avoid alcohol and tobacco use while sick with the flu. Anti viral medications are recommended in selected cases. If a secondary bacterial infection occurs, then treatment with antibiotics may be necessary. Intravenous corticosteroids and/or Hospitalisation is required in few cases that complicate to pneumonia, respiratory failure or septicaemia.
Taking the corrective preventive steps and early recognition of warning symptoms helps manage Seasonal flu and related complications effectively.