What is Flu or Influenza?

What is Flu or Influenza?

Flu or influenza is a disease caused by a viral infection that can attack the nose, throat and lungs. This condition is very common in the transition season. This disease is very easily transmitted to other people, especially in the first 3-4 days after the sufferer is infected with the flu virus,

Symptoms of flu that sufferers usually experience are fever, headache, coughing, aches, loss of appetite, and sore throat.

Influenza symptoms will get worse for 2 to 4 days before finally getting better and recovering.

Flu and cold are two different conditions. Colds generally appear gradually with milder symptoms, so they don’t have much of an impact on the sufferer’s routine.

Meanwhile, influenza is not like that, this disease tends to cause more severe symptoms, so it can interfere with the sufferer’s activities. In addition, the incubation period for flu is also shorter.

Causes of Flu or Influenza

Influenza viruses spread through the air in droplets or droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

You can inhale the droplets directly, or get the virus when holding certain objects, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

People infected with the virus may be able to transmit the virus from about one day before symptoms appear, until about five days after symptoms appear.

Children and people with weakened immune systems may be infectious for a little longer.

Influenza viruses are constantly mutating, with new strains appearing regularly. If you have had influenza before, your body has made antibodies to fight certain types of influenza viruses.

Flu or Influenza Risk Factors

Even though flu can attack everyone, there are some people who are quite susceptible to being attacked by the influenza virus, for example:

  • Have a weak immune system.
  • Pregnant or just gave birth.
  • Toddlers and elderly.
  • Suffering from certain medical conditions, such as diabetes,
  • asthma, heart disease, or obesity.
  • Work or live in public facilities.
  • The body is not fit or does not get enough rest.

How the Flu is Transmitted

Flu is a highly contagious disease and can spread quickly anywhere.

This disease can be transmitted by someone from the day before symptoms appear to 5 to 7 days after experiencing illness.

After being exposed to the virus, sufferers begin to show symptoms within 1 to 4 days. You can also transmit this virus to other people before you even realize you have it.

Influenza transmission is generally transmitted from one person to another through droplets when the sufferer talks, coughs or sneezes.

Apart from that, there are also several other ways of transmission, namely:

  • Shake hands with the sufferer, then touch your eyes, mouth or nose afterwards.
  • Touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated with the virus.
  • Share drinking or eating utensils with the sufferer.
  • Contact with animals that have been contaminated.

Symptoms of Flu or Influenza

At first, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat.

Common flu symptoms include:

  • Fever .
  • Sore muscles.
  • Shivering and sweating.
  • Headache.
  • Continuous dry cough (chronic).
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • Sore eyes.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, but these are more common in children than adults.

These symptoms generally appear 2-3 days after being infected with the virus. Most symptoms will disappear in less than 1 week.

However, coughing and weakness can last for several weeks. So, if your flu symptoms become increasingly bothersome, contact this doctor immediately so that your symptoms improve quickly.

What is the difference between cold and flu?

The common cold and flu may seem similar at first. Because, both are respiratory diseases and can cause similar symptoms.

But different viruses cause these two conditions. Colds and influenza have some of the same symptoms.

People with either disease often experience:

  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • Sore.
  • general fatigue.

However, cough and cold symptoms develop slowly, while flu symptoms attack suddenly. In addition, flu symptoms will be more severe than cold symptoms.

Because colds rarely cause other conditions or health problems. But influenza can cause:

  • Inflammation of the mucous membrane.
  • Ear infections.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Sepsis.

If symptoms are severe, it is important for someone who is sick to confirm the diagnosis as to whether it is a cold or flu.

Cold and flu symptoms should also be treated carefully because they overlap with the symptoms of COVID-19.

What is the Difference between Influenza and COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and allergies have some similarities, but are often different. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Cough, especially dry cough.
  • Hard to breathe.

Flu symptoms are similar to COVID-19 including fever and body aches. However, flu usually does not cause shortness of breath as a symptom.

Flu or Influenza Diagnosis

To diagnose flu, there are several things a doctor will do.

First, usually the doctor will conduct a medical interview regarding the complaints or symptoms experienced by the patient.

For example, symptoms such as a blocked nose , sneezing, or hoarseness.

Apart from that, the doctor will also carry out a physical examination (fever may be found).

If necessary, the doctor will carry out supporting examinations (blood tests) if flu symptoms have lasted more than 10 days.

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Flu Complications

Generally, someone who suffers from this disease can recover without complications.

However, if not treated properly, there is a possibility of causing other health problems and even dangerous complications.

Some complications caused by flu include:

  • Asthma attack .
  • Heart problems .
  • Ear infection .
  • Pneumonia .
  • Bronchitis.

If the symptoms disappear but come back after a few days, you may have a secondary infection.

If this happens, it’s a good idea to check yourself to be sure.

Because, if it is not treated and causes pneumonia, this disorder can become life threatening.

Flu or Influenza Treatment

Usually, people with the flu only need rest and drink lots of fluids to treat the flu. Because, in general, flu can heal by itself.

Apart from that, there are several efforts that flu sufferers can take to relieve their symptoms, namely:

  • Wash your hands regularly, to avoid spreading the flu virus to other objects or people.
  • Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, then throw the tissue away.
  • Make sure your body is hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, such as water, fruit juice, or warm soup, to prevent dehydration.
  • Take pain relievers such as paracetamol, to relieve symptoms of fever and muscle aches.

Apart from that, this is an effective and easy to get cold medicine .

Some types of flu viruses, such as bird flu, can cause severe symptoms that sufferers cannot treat independently.

If the symptoms do not improve and symptoms appear that need to be watched out for, immediately consult a doctor.

If proven to have bird flu, the sufferer will be treated in an isolation room and the doctor will give antiviral medication.

For example, oseltamivir or zanamivir. Antiviral drugs are useful for speeding healing and preventing complications.

Flu or Influenza Prevention

One effort to prevent flu is through administering the influenza vaccine to prevent influenza and its potentially serious complications.

Especially for people who are at higher risk of experiencing complications.

There are several groups that need to get vaccinated because they are at high risk of experiencing complications, namely:

  • People aged 65 years and over or elderly.
  • Babies who do not yet have an optimal immune system.
    Pregnant women.
  • People who live with someone who is at high risk of developing a severe infection because they have a weakened immune system.
  • For example, people living with HIV, people undergoing transplants, or undergoing cancer treatment,
  • Health workers on the front line.

Please remember, the influenza vaccine cannot prevent flu 100 percent. Apart from that, influenza is also a virus that is easily transmitted.

Either through sneezing (droplets from someone who is infected) or touching objects that have been contaminated with the virus.

Therefore, a way that is also considered effective in preventing flu is maintaining your own hygiene and the environment.

Here are some efforts you can take:

  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If water and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes after activities if you haven’t washed your hands.
  • Clean the surfaces of objects that frequently come into contact with disinfectant liquid.
  • Do not share food or use personal objects, such as glasses or drinking bottles.

If you have had the flu, you can minimize transmission to other people with the following efforts:

  • Avoid contact with other people, at least until 24 hours after the fever goes down.
  • Wear a mask when doing activities outside the home.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, then throw away the tissue and wash your hands afterwards.

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