What is the flu?
Influenza, commonly known as the "flu", is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Influenza is most common in the winter and early spring.
The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. What's the Difference Between A Cold And The Flu?
Colds and flu are contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. While the symptoms may be similar, the flu is much worse. A cold can put you down a bit, but even the thought of getting out of bed with the flu can make you shudder. Congestion, sore throat and sneezing, nasal congestion are symptoms of a cold. Both the common cold and the flu can cause cough, headache, and chest discomfort. However, with the flu, there is a high fever and body aches, fatigue and weakness that last for several days. Flu symptoms tend to come on suddenly. Complications from the common cold are relatively rare, but a case of flu can lead to a life-threatening illness such as pneumonia. More than 100 strains of cold viruses are known, and new strains of flu develop every few years.
Because both diseases are viral, antibiotics cannot beat the common cold or flu. Remember: Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Antiviral drugs are available to treat the flu. However, there is no medicine that specifically beats the common cold. Antibiotics can only help if there is a secondary bacterial infection.
What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?
The most common symptoms of the flu are: Sudden onset of high fever (38°C or more). Dry cough. Body aches (especially in the head, lower back and legs). Extreme weakness, tiredness (and not wanting to get out of bed). Other symptoms may include: Chills Pain behind the eyes Loss of appetite. Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose If you have been in contact with someone who has the flu, you are more likely to get the flu.
How Is The Flu Treated?
Flu symptoms can be improved by: Resting Drinking plenty of fluids Medicines for fever or pain Antiviral medicines for the flu virus A doctor may be consulted if you are very sick with severe symptoms. Over-the-counter cough and flu medications should not be given to children younger than 6 years old.