Influenza symptoms duration treatment of the flu

Typical flu symptoms such as fever, headache and aching limbs start very quickly and violently after infection by influenza viruses.Antibiotics are not effective against the infection, in contrast to antivirals. However, they may only be administered after an influenza test has been performed. To avoid infecting others, conscientious hygiene – such as frequent hand washing – and bed rest are important. The latter also to avoid the most common complication of influenza, pneumonia. Influenza vaccination is still considered the best preventive measure. Influenza is often mistaken for the common cold.


Frequency of influenza

Every year, around 380 people fall ill.000 Austrians suffer from influenza. About 5 to 10 % of adults. Up to 15% of children are affected. In Austria, about 1.000 people from influenza.

Young children (under 4 years of age) and older people (over 65 years of age) are particularly at risk, as their immune systems do not yet or no longer. no longer functions optimally. Likewise, people whose immune systems are weak for other reasons (z.B. due to immunosuppressants, further infections, generally poor health).

In its usual course, the flu season begins in December, runs weakly during the Christmas vacations (as many transmission sites such as schools, kindergartens, offices, etc. The seasonal incidence of summer flu (which is not yet closed) increases again from mid-January, peaks at the end of January/beginning of February, and ends in mid-March. Influenza hardly ever occurs in summer. The so-called "summer flu have an influenza infection.

Causes / symptoms / course of flu

The pathogens of the flu are the influenza viruses. It is transmitted by droplet or smear infection. Droplet infection is transmission by sneezing or coughing, where the viruses pass from one person to another in tiny droplets of mucus (so small that they are often not felt) and can sometimes hang in the air for a short time. In smear infections, the viruses get onto surfaces via mucus (for example, when someone attacks a doorknob after blowing their nose), where they are picked up by the next person. Influenza viruses remain infectious longer in cold and dry air, which is why midwinter is also the peak season for influenza.

Influenza is characterized by a very sudden onset and a full clinical picture within one day:

– high fever (usually over 39°), – chills, – severe muscle and limb pain, , , – hoarseness and – such severe lassitude that patients stay in bed.

If you are not one of the very first victims of a flu season, you already know that the annual flu wave is on its way.

Diagnosis by influenza test

Usually the symptoms are sufficient to make the diagnosis. Only in people who are particularly at risk (very old, very young or immunocompromised) can a rapid influenza test help to confirm the diagnosis immediately in case of suspicion. A throat swab or nasal lavage is taken for this purpose. These people also have a much higher risk of developing pneumonia as a complication of the flu.

Therapy for flu

The most important thing to do when you have the flu is: cure it! Bed rest should be kept until the final recovery is complete. A fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius places a heavy burden on the circulation, so antipyretic therapy is advisable from this point onwards. Those who do not stay in bed during influenza risk heart muscle inflammation. Children under 3 years of age are also at risk of febrile convulsions.

Drinking a lot is important because we lose fluids due to fever. On the one hand, this puts a strain on the circulation. On the other hand, worsens the detoxification. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs rarely speed healing, but they do bring relief.

Although there are drugs against the influenza viruses (so-called antivirals such as zanamivir or oseltamivir), they are only effective if they are given within 48 hours of the outbreak of the disease. Therefore, they are given by the doctor only after confirmed diagnosis.

The flu viruses damage the mucous membrane during the course of the illness, making it easier for bacteria to multiply and, as the most common complication, triggering pneumonia. In this case, the doctor prescribes antibiotics against the bacterial inflammation.

What can you do yourself against flu?

Good hygiene is especially important during flu season:

– Use paper handkerchiefs instead of cloth handkerchiefs, and do so only once and then dispose of them immediately so that no one else touches them (do not leave them on the table, but put them straight into the garbage bin). – Wash hands frequently or use disinfectant wipes for hands and especially do not touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. – Limit or completely avoid shaking hands and greeting kisses. – Avoid contact: As a sick person, avoid contact with others as much as possible to avoid infecting them. This also means not going to work to protect their colleagues! Teachers and kindergarten teachers in particular should protect their proteges from the disease.

Influenza Vaccination: It is possible to be vaccinated against influenza, and this is especially recommended for children from 7 months to 4 years of age, people over 65 years of age and the chronically ill, as well as for all those who care for such persons, such as teachers, kindergarten teachers or nursing staff in hospitals and old people's homes. It is best to take advantage of the flu vaccination campaigns that are offered every fall and early winter. Flu shots need to be refreshed every year because the virus changes very quickly.

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