Influenza - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
A viral illness producing a high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, headache, dry cough, and muscle pain. The illness is widespread, especially during winter months, and can sometimes be fatal. Influenza that caused several waves of pandemic in 1918-1919, resulting in over 20 million deaths worldwide. Humans are only rarely affected.
Influenza occurs sporadically or in epidemics (usually during the colder months). Epidemics tend to peak within 2 to 3 weeks after initial cases and subside within 1 month. Influenza is also called the grippe, fowl plague , avian flu, and bird flu.
Influenza in humans is an acute, usually self-limited, febrile respiratory illness caused by infection with influenza virus type A or B that occurs in outbreaks of varying severity almost every winter. Influenza may be Caused by influenza A virus H5 and H7. All types of birds are susceptible to the virus but outbreaks occur most often in chickens and turkeys. these viruses do not commonly infect humans, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. If an avian virus were able to infect people and gain the ability to spread easily from person to person, an influenza pandemic, a global outbreak, could begin.
Past influenza pandemics have led to high levels of illness, death. One of the remarkable features of the influenza virus is its capacity for antigenic variation. Such variation leads to infection by strains of the virus to which little or no immunologic resistance is present in the population at risk.
The infection may be brought by migratory wild birds which can carry the virus but show no signs of disease. The typical incubation period for influenza is in between 1-4 days, with an average of 2 days. Adults can be infectious from the day before symptoms begin through approximately 5 days after illness onset.
The other symptoms of the influenza may be included:
Uncomplicated influenza is treated with bed rest, adequate fiuid intake.
Medication for influenza must be started within 48 hours of the appearance of symptoms.
aspirin to relieve fever and muscle pain, and guaifenesin or another expectorant to relieve nonproductive coughing.
As with many medicines, if taken with a light snack, milk, or a meal, the potential for stomach upset may be reduced.
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