What does the flu really do to our body?
It's just a tiny, mindless bundle of genes... Or is it?
Nope. The flu has the power to hijack our bodies, turn us against each other and even cripple human civilization.
Be very careful in public places. Did you know that every time a sick person coughs, the person expels some 2,000 virus-laden droplets? If you inhaled any of those (if you have touched the same things), they have floated through your nostrils and are burrowing into your airway's cells. Unlike colds, which attack the nose and throat, the flu virus can travel into the lungs.
The next day after that, you feel your head ache, along with every muscle in your body. You're cold one minute and hot the next. Your throat is scratchy and you're starting to cough. There you have it, you caught the flu.
Influenza (or flu) is a highly infectious viral respiratory tract infection. It frequently starts fast, with fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and a dry cough. People of all ages can get the flu. Although most people are ill with the flu for only a few days, some have a much more serious illness and may need to be hospitalized. Influenza can lead to pneumonia and death.
The influenza virus is generally passed from person to person through the air - when an infected person sneezes or coughs. But the virus can also live for a little time on stuff like doorknobs, pens, pencils, keyboards, telephone receivers, and eating or drinking utensils. So, you can also get the flu by touching something that has been handled by someone contaminated with the virus and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes. It’s that quick and easy.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
- The flu tends to start very abruptly, while colds tend to build up slowly.
- The flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough are more common and intense.
- People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.
- Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.
It happens hastily, frequently with little or no warning. There might be just a few coughs or sniffles at first, but then the fever, fatigue, sore throat and muscle pains come roaring in. Before long, there's no use denying it: You have the flu.
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because colds and flu share many of the same symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the distinction between them based on symptoms alone. Treatment, if decided upon by the health care provider, will generally be based on severity of symptoms and how possible a person is to have complications of flu.
So, what treatment is there for colds and the flu?
Well, good news is that most people recover in a few days and do not need to see a doctor.
Some people take flu shots to keep up with rapidly adapting flu viruses.
Take note that antibiotics won’t make any difference against flu as they act alongside bacteria and viruses cause colds and flu. The following can aid to ease cold and flu symptoms:
- Relax and take your needed rest at home.
- It’s a plus that your room is warm and well-ventilated.
- Drink plenty of water, as a high temperature can quickly make you dehydrated.
- Do not smoke.
- Choose food that are high in vitamin C (such as fruit) and carbohydrates (such as pasta and potatoes).
- Use paracetamol to help reduce fever, aches and pains.
- Remember very well that when using any medicines, check that they are suitable for you before you buy, ask the pharmacist for any advice and read all labels carefully.
It’s also very important not to rush back into everyday activities as soon as you feel better, you should allow time for a full recovery.
What can I do to prevent getting a cold or flu?
To avoid and prevent both colds and flu you should spare time to exercise, guarantee you regularly get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy diet. Vitamin C, zinc and cod liver oil can help defend your body against infection.
During a flu epidemic you should keep away from crowded places and encourage people with flu to stay at home to avoid infecting others.
It’s also best to be cautious about the things you touch at public places. Better yet, always bring alcohol-based sanitizers for a quick cleanse.