Infectious Disease

The dos and dont’s while managing a flu infection

Influenza, or also commonly known as the flu is a respiratory illness that is contagious in nature. The infection is caused due to different strains of the virus and affects men, women, or children. Common symptoms of a flu infection include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. There are four primary types of the influenza virus that can cause an infection with varying levels of severity. Influenza D virus affects only cattle while types A, B, and C will exhibit similar symptoms in comparison to the common cold.

However, it is important to identify the primary cause of flu and associate the symptoms to a particular type to administer the right medication and treatment. Proper vaccination significantly reduces the chances of an infection as the vaccine develops antibodies to fight the infection. The antibodies are developed from the virus itself thus enabling the immune system to learn and identify the virus attacking healthy body cells.

It is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments for flu infection. However, one must also be aware of the about the dos and don’ts to manage or explore alternatives to treat the infection.

Flu is highly contagious
The virus can develop and stay dormant in the body without the person experiencing the symptoms firsthand. Some people may not be affected at all by the virus but are capable of carrying the same and infecting others unknowingly. Medical attention is advisable even for some of the mild symptoms as there is a good chance the person might just be a carrier of the virus that can potentially infect everyone who comes in contact.

Identify the necessary vitamins and minerals
Normally, vitamin C packs a great boost for the immune system and is considered among the essential nutrients one must incorporate in the daily diet. However, vitamin C can only reduce the duration of the infection in case of an influenza attack and not necessarily prevent the condition. One must also consult with a medical professional to understand the effects of natural sources and supplements for treating or managing a flu infection.

Alternate forms of protection
Note that simply wearing a mask cannot protect the person from airborne viruses. Even the best quality face and nose mask cannot stop the microscopic particles already airborne infecting others in the vicinity. The function of a surgical mask is to trap the respiratory secretions expelled.

Vaccination is not 100% effective
Note that the flu shot or any form of vaccination can only reduce the possibility of an infection and is not one hundred percent effective in blocking an attack on the immune system. There are multiple factors that determine the viability of the vaccine including one’s age, health, and most importantly the particular strain of virus that causes the infection to find a potential match of the vaccine.

Pets and influenza
Pets can be affected by the flu virus. However, it is not possible for people to get infected from their pets as the virus is species specific rendering it impossible for the virus to infect a human.