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What is flu?

Influenza (Flu) - is an acute viral disease that can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract, is accompanied by severe intoxication and can lead to serious complications and death, mainly in elderly patients.

The source of infection is a sick person. Viruses are secreted with saliva, sputum, nasal discharge - when coughing and sneezing. Viruses can get on the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes or upper respiratory tract directly from the air, from close contact with a sick person; or they can settle on various surfaces and then get on the mucous membranes through hands or using common hygiene items with patients.

Then the virus enters the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract (nose, pharynx, larynx or trachea) and begins to multiply actively. Acute illness lasts 5-7 days.

Flu symptoms

The incubation period for the flu is very short - from infection to the first manifestations of the disease it takes an average of several hours to 2 days, less often up to 4 days.

The main symptoms of influenza are:

  • high fever up to 40 degrees or higher
  • chills
  • headache - especially in the forehead, eyes; severe pain when moving the eyeballs
  • muscle aches - especially in the legs and lower back, joints
  • weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • may be nausea and vomiting
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • cough (usually dry)
  • hoarseness of voice
  • pain in the eyes, tearing

Treatment of influenza

In most cases, the flu is treated at home. For the treatment of flu symptoms it is recommended:

  • to stay at home and rest
  • to drink a lot of water
  • herbal teas, expectorant drugs
  • in case of high temperature, it is recommended to use the antipyretic agent for a short time (Paracetamol, Ibuprofen). It is not recommended to lower the temperature below 38 degrees, since this reduces the body’s production of anti-inflammatory substances.
  • to use nasal drops, usually used up to 5-7 days
  • to use throat sprays and lozenges with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects

Antibiotics are not used for the treatment of influenza.

In Estonia, there is a registered medicine for the treatment of influenza, which is used only according to indications and only in patients who are at risk - these are elderly people over 65, children under 6 years old, patients with chronic diseases of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, reduced immunity.

Flu vaccination is a good way to reduce their chance of getting sick.

The most frequent complications of the flu are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammation of the middle ear, inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis)
  • Inflammation of the kidneys (pyelonephritis or glomerulonephritis)

Contact your family nurse or doctor, and if necessary call an ambulance if you have:

  • Fever 40 ºС and higher, which lasts more than 4-5 days
  • Severe headache that can’t be relieved by taking painkillers, especially when localized in the neck
  • Shortness of breath, frequent or abnormal breathingе
  • Severe cough, chest pain
  • Impairment of consciousness
  • Cramps
  • The appearance of a red skin rash

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