Healthy Living

Flu: Symptoms and Treatment

Flu: Symptoms and Treatment

Key Takeaways

  • Flu symptoms are more severe than a cold.
  • If you are a diabetic, pregnant, or older than 65-years-old, then you are at a higher risk of catching the flu and it is advisable to visit your doctor as soon as possible. Children under the age of 2-years-old are also at a higher risk of contracting the flu.
  • Bed rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and pain killers can help to make you feel better.
  • Anti-virals are usually prescribed to shorten the duration of the disease.

Is it the flu

The commonest cause of the flu is the influenza A virus.

You may be having the flu if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Fever between 38oC to 40oC (100oF to 104oF)
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Body aches and pains
  • Fatigability

Flu symptoms are similar to that of a common cold, although it can be more severe.

It is difficult to determine if you have the flu or a cold. Pregnant women, children under the age of 2-years-old, adults older than 65-years-old, and people with conditions like diabetes are at a higher risk of catching the flu. Therefore, if you have symptoms that are likely to be of the flu, visit your physician and get medications as soon as possible.

How to treat the flu

The flu can be treated with bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids. You need to drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration. Nasal decongestants and pain killers such as Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen can help calm the symptoms. However, it is important to remember that aspirin should never be given to small children, as it increases the risk of a rare but serious condition known as Reye’s syndrome.

Reye’s syndrome is a serious condition, which results in the swelling of the brain and liver.  Some signs and symptoms are confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. This will require emergency treatment.

If you do not feel better after several remedies, visit your physician. Your physician may prescribe you anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu, Rapivab, and Relenza. These drugs will help to shorten the duration of the illness and prevent complications, such as pneumonia. To get a better response, you have to take these drugs within the first 48 hours after contracting the flu.