Flu this year has been affecting a lot of people. The onset of flu during this year’s season, may not be as endemic as in earlier years. But with flu, one simply cannot take any chances. If untreated it may cause great discomfort, and may prove fatal in people whose immunity systems are weak or those suffering from cardiac diseases.
One cannot also be complacent about the easy availability of various anti-viral drugs and vaccines available in the market, to combat this epidemic, because last year’s drug or vaccine may not be that useful this year. The reason being that this virus (which causes the flu) keeps changing its form, and older medicines may not be effective in treating the flu. The virus has the propensity to infect the respiratory system which includes the nose, throat, lungs and bronchial tubes, which makes it very dangerous. But the million dollar question is how to distinguish flu from common cold?
Symptoms of Flu in Adults
Flu symptoms are typically more severe, than those from common cold. Typical symptoms include fever, sore throat, fatigue, back ache, muscle ache, etc. Normally one may not sneeze or have runny nose or nose congestion. If one wakes up with the feeling of great fatigue and discomfort and have multiple symptoms all at once, then one must seriously suspect flu. In adults some symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting may not be present, which are more rampant in children.
How does the flu virus spread?
The flu virus is extremely contagious and spreads through the air, through cough or sneeze from a person, who is within 6 feet distance. Droplets from sneezing or coughing which land on tables, phones, pens, and other surfaces remain alive up to 48 hours. These viruses live longer and are more active when they fall on plastic or stainless steels vessels, and the easiest way to contact this virus is from the good old handshake!
Disinfection is the war cry when the flu season rears it face. In the face of common disinfectants the flu loses its power.
Incubation Period in Adults
Incubation period is the space of time, during which the virus enters the body, and full blown symptoms start appearing in a person. Normally in adults this incubation period is 2 days.
Typically adults recover from this flu in 3 to 7 days’ time, though the cough and signs of fatigue may continue for 2 weeks. . Sometimes this flu may lead to Pneumonia and make certain conditions like pulmonary and heart diseases worse. After a flu attack the immunity system of a person becomes weak, so it is advisable not to travel immediately following recovery from flu.
Certain precautions can be taken to keep the flu at bay. These include:
- washing hands regularly after coming home from outside
- washing hands before eating
- using a sanitizer after shaking hands or after sneezing
- using a handkerchief to cover the mouth while sneezing or coughing
- regularly cleaning the exposed surfaces in the house
As with most contagious diseases, prevention is better than cure.