Flu is not a serious ailment, but understanding the type you are suffering from is the most important thing. As for any other disease, early detection is very important in the case of flu. That is why you must know the minute details regarding the signs of the flu. In this article, you will learn all the necessary things about the cause, symptoms, and prevention of the common flu.
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What is a common flu?
The name ‘common flu’ is apt for this type of flu as it is the most common ailment that everyone suffers. This flu is also called influenza flu. One of the main problems with any flu is that it is not easy to detect. Though there are some common signs of all flu, those are overlapping and confusing.
Common flu is a respiratory disease, which happens due to viruses that infect the lungs, nose, and throat. It is a very contagious illness in nature. If the condition of the patient does not recover, it can even lead to death. Sometimes, the condition of a patient gets worse to the pathetic consequence of untimely death.
What are the main causes of common flu?
The main cause of the common flu is the influenza virus. There are many ways in which this virus can infect you. To say, everyone is at risk of contaminating the influenza virus all the time. This virus can cause infection in many ways.
Imagine a person in your vicinity who has flu, sitting in the same enclosure as you. If he or she sneezes, you can be affected. If that person touches you with a contaminated hand, you can be affected. Even if an infected person talks to you, you can expect to suffer from common flu without wearing any face mask. The main reason behind this flu is the influenza virus, and it can infect you in multiple ways. So, if you have to get near any infected person on any occasion, you have to take some preventive measures.
Major signs of the flu
Common flu is something that can be easily diagnosed by the patient. If you know the signs of the flu very well, you can identify it easily. People experience different bodily discomfort while getting down with this flu. Here are the common signs of the flu that most people face.
- Pain: People often can feel uncomfortable pain in their whole body. The pain resembles muscle pain. You may also feel a headache and joint pain.
- Cough: The patient will have a severe cough. The cough can be dry or with phlegm.
- Chills: If you have this infection, you will feel sudden chills at times in your whole body.
- Fever: A patient with common flu might have a sudden fever.
- A sore throat: Coughing will be extreme and might lead to a sore throat.
- Nasal discomfort: If you experience cough with phlegm, you might as well get a runny nose. You will feel congestion in the nose area.
- Stomach discomfort: Stomach discomfort is usually more seen in the case of children. Children having common flu might feel nauseated. They may vomit. In severe cases of infection, children will have diarrhea.
- Tired: The first one of the signs of the common flu is tiredness. Once you get this viral infection, you will feel tired all the time. Before the fever comes, the patient will experience fatigue.
These are the common signs of the flu. However, all patients may not experience all of the above symptoms. The signs depend on the severity of the viral infection. It also depends on the age of the patient. If the patient has any other chronic illness, that also will affect the signs.
Duration of the common flu suffering
Common flu does not last for more than one or two weeks. For children, the flu might be longer. The reason is, in the case of children, the disease is not that easy to detect. Children suffer from various diseases. That is why the parents take a longer time to detect common flu. However, for children, the flu is easily curable. The recovery time is short for younger adults too.
For senior patients, the signs of the flu are easily detectable. But older adults suffer for a much longer time. As older people’s immunity system is much weaker than younger people, they take a longer time to recover. In extreme severity, older people can suffer for a longer time than they expect the symptoms. They might not have a fever or the flu, but they can be tired and weak for weeks. Moreover, the duration of the common flu suffering differs according to the patient’s medical condition.
The groups with the major risk of common flu infection
Although anyone can get influenza infection anywhere at any age, some age groups are the most susceptible. There are almost ten thousand cases of common flu that occur in India. And that, too, is the official statistics. There are many more cases that go undetected and unregistered. So, this flu is like any other common disease that threatens the entire population. However, there are people of certain age groups who are particularly at risk of this flu. Here is a list of the age groups who should be more careful:
Infant and Children
The first age group under the risk of getting infected is the babies of one to two years. Common flu is one of the most frequent ailments that babies of this age suffer. The second group would be the toddlers of three to five years. As infants of this age tend to lick everything, they have chances of having common flu.
Another reason behind the higher susceptibility of children is their weaker immunity system. That is why, if anyone with infection comes near them, they tend to get the infection. Even children between the age group of six to 13 can be highly at risk of getting the infection.
The main risk of infection among adult people is their higher chances of exposure. The young adults are yet less vulnerable as they have high immunity power. On the other hand, the late adults between the age groups of forty to fifty are more prone to get common flu. Their immunity system does not allow them to stay immune to the infection of this flu.
Senior people often suffer from influenza or the common flu, partly because of their failing immunity. Another reason behind this is the fact that older adults have other different medical conditions. Most of the older people around us suffer from various other ailments, such as diabetes, a higher rate of blood pressure, etc. This plethora of diseases makes them more vulnerable to common flu infection. Some old persons have chronic illnesses that give them a reason to be vulnerable to the common flu. In one word, people between the ages of 60 and 80 are at higher risk of suffering from common flu pangs.
Social groups that are under risk
Apart from those particular age groups, other social and medically deviant groups tend to get the virus infection. For instance, pregnant women are at risk of this flu. During pregnancy, women are vulnerable to a variety of diseases and infections. This common flu could be a real headache for pregnant women. Secondly, people with any chronic diseases can easily get the infection. People with cancer are very vulnerable to this infection too. Cancer patients take several medicines that lower their immunity power. Hence, they have a higher risk of getting affected.
Moreover, if anyone has any disease related to the lungs, the influenza virus can be fatal for them. People with severe COPD should be very careful not to catch the common flu. If the common flu takes a downward turn, their condition can be dangerous.
Key facts about common flu
The first thing you have to keep in mind is that common flu is highly contagious. It can spread very easily. On the other hand, you can prevent it very easily. It would help if you took some preventive measures, and you will be all right. The signs of the flu are easily detectable. So, as soon as you detect it, you can start treatment by yourself. The treatment of common flu is easy, and anyone can do this. There is hardly any need for imaging or laboratory test in case of common flu. If you want to get a shot for common flu, you can. But, doctors recommend taking the shot every year to get the best protection. However, the best protection is to stay safe and distant from those who have a viral infection.
How does common flu spread?
The virus of common flu spreads through airborne particles from the mouth or nose of a patient. For instance, if a person with this viral infection coughs or sneezes, the droplets from his/her mouth can spread the virus. The second way of spreading the virus is by exchanging saliva. So, the infection can spread by kissing or by sharing drinks. And it can also spread by touching the skin of the infected person. If you hug an infected person or shake hands with him/her, you can be ill. So, it is wise to be at a safe distance from anyone infected with this virus.
Treatment for common flu
Treatment for common flu is not very expensive or does not require much medication. Common flu is self-treatable. You have to detect the signs of the common flu. Then, you have to take flu medication according to the symptoms. Along with medicines, you have to take a lot of fluids. Rest is the key here. For better recovery, you need to take rest for a longer time than seems required.
When should you see a doctor?
If you see the signs of the flu, you can visit the doctor once for advice. Although common flu is self-treatable, there can be some complications when you have to go to a doctor.
You have to go to a doctor if your flu takes a bad turn. For most elderly patients, simple flu can lead to pneumonia and consequent death. Therefore, if your flu signs seem to get worse, you should go to a doctor.
If anyone intends to take an influenza shot every year, your go to person is your doctor. Generally, every person should go to a yearly health check-up to get a shot for flu. The best time to get the shot is after fall when the shot is available.
Whenever you develop signs of the flu, you need to call your doctor immediately. A doctor only can advise you on what exactly to do. After the signs develop more, you can ask your doctor for antivirals. Antiviral doses will shorten the duration of your ailment and will help you recover easily. This way, your flu will not get severe. Sometimes, flu can lead to severe pneumonia. In such a case, the defense system becomes weaker, and the viruses attack the patient’s lungs. In complex cases of flu, you should go to the doctor. Whenever you feel chest pain for extreme coughing, experience breathing problem, or witness green phlegm, it is doctor time.
It is a very difficult question “when should you see a doctor.” It is your body, and you can understand it best. So, at first, you feel the problem of your body and then do the needful. Common flu is a very often-seen illness in the world. If you have common flu, you do not have to worry much.
You should track every development of the signs and inform your physician. If you take safety measures in time, there will be no complexity. However, prevention is always better than cure. Remember, you can never be too cautious. Always wear a mask if there is any chance of contamination, and wash your hands repeatedly. If you are afraid of infection, go Sheldon!