timberland 6 boots how to treat influenza
Because it is a viral infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Antiviral agents can reduce the severity and duration of infection, but these are generally prescribed only if there are concerns regarding complications of the infection or transmission of more severe strains of the virus. The best remedy is rest while drinking plenty of fluids.
It’s possible to get vaccinated against influenza, which is especially advisable for the elderly and other people who are at increased risk of experiencing complications of flu. These include people with chronic heart, lung, kidney, liver and neurological diseases, people with diabetes, people with HIV infection, and those who have an underactive immune system.
In 2009, a pandemic (global outbreak) of swine flu (H1N1 influenza A) was associated with high complication rates in pregnant women and pregnant women are now recommended to have a flu vaccine. Paracetamol (eg Panadol, Calpol) or aspirin (eg Aspro clear) will reduce fever and muscle aches. (Note that aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years of age, unless on the advice of a doctor.) Ibuprofen (eg Nurofen) will also relieve these symptoms. These painkillers are also found combined with medicines such as nasal decongestants in various over the counter cold and flu remedies. The disease infects the nose, throat or lungs. Droplets can contaminate the skin and frequent hand washing is advised.
It often breaks out as an epidemic, which quickly spreads from town to town and country to country. Typically, an area can have epidemic conditions for a period of four to six weeks before it eases off.
Are there different types of influenza?Yes, there are three types of influenza.
Type AThe most serious type with the most acute symptoms. It is also the most common form, usually breaking out every two or three years. The 2009/2010 pandemic was caused by influenza A H1N1.
Type BSimilar symptoms to type A, but not as serious. The outbreaks happen every four to five years.
Type CThe mildest type, with symptoms similar to a cold.
How long will the influenza last?Usually, influenza lasts three to five days. If it goes on for more than a week or if the symptoms are very severe, you are advised to consult your doctor.
A bad case of influenza has the potential to develop into a more serious condition like pneumonia or sinus trouble, and in rare cases it can be life threatening.
Who is at risk?Influenza can be dangerous to the elderly, especially those who live in residential homes where there is more risk of contracting the virus through contact with others.
ADVERTISEMENT CONTINUE READING BELOW
People with underlying health problems are also more likely to develop complications due to an attack of flu. Those at risk are advised to get a yearly vaccination. Consult your doctor if you have any problems or questions. This is in order to protect healthy children from flu, but also to help reduce the spread of flu and thus protect many others, such as younger siblings and those in the at risk groups above. Vaccinating all children every year is quite an undertaking, so the programme is being phased in gradually. It began in 2013, starting with children aged two and three.
From September 2015, all children who are aged two, three or four years, plus those in school years one and two, will be offered the flu vaccine as part of the childhood immunisation schedule. Younger children will be given the vaccine at their GP, while those in school years one and two will be offered the vaccine at school by the school nursing team. In some parts of the country other school aged children will also be offered the vaccine. These pilots are to help establish what will be the most efficient way of giving the vaccine to all children each year. The programme will be gradually extended each year to include all children up to 16 years of age.
Children will be given the new vaccine Fluenz tetra, which is administered by nasal spray. This vaccine has been shown to be more effective than the injected vaccine in healthy children.
Children under two years of age aren’t included in the programme because the nasal spray vaccine was shown to cause wheezing in this younger age group. Babies are also likely to be protected indirectly by protecting older children. Children aged between six months and two years who have any of the long term health conditions listed above will continue to be offered the annual injected flu vaccine. However, the influenza virus constantly mutates into slightly different versions of itself, which is one reason why vaccination is sometimes ineffective. The vaccination also needs to be done yearly to keep up the person’s level of immunity. Vaccination should still be the preventive measure for all those at risk of complications, eg those over 65 years and with heart or lung diseases (see above).
Antiviral agents such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) can be prescribed by a doctor to shorten the duration of infection.
There are concerns that widespread use of such agents can encourage the emergence of resistant strains of virus. These agents are therefore generally only used when there are particular risks of complications, or to limit transmission of the more severe strains of the virus.
Despite the bewildering number of over the counter remedies for ‘flu’, all are symptom relievers only, and the number of active ingredients is quite small.
People taking other medicines should check with the pharmacist before taking a flu remedy in case of interaction between medicines.
ReferencesDepartment of Health, Vaccine Update June 2015
Department of Health, Update to Green Book Chapter 19 Influenza, 26 August 2015
Cates CJ, Jefferson TO, Bara AI, Rowe BH. Vaccines for preventing influenza in people with asthma (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2000. Oxford: Update Software.
Demicheli V, Rivetti D, Deeks JJ, Jefferson TO. Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2000. Oxford: Update Software.