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Welcome, USIMD.com medical contents search December 21, 2014
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Flu

more about Flu


Influenza


  • Influenza or "flu" is a viral infection caused by Influenza A or Influenza B, and is transmitted person-to-person by respiratory droplets (i.e., sneezing, breath).  It is primarily a Lung Infection, and is not to be confused with the "stomach flu" -- which generally refers to Gastroenteritis -- not influenza at all.  Influenza can be a life-threatening illness in the very young, debilitated, and elderly.
  • Every fall and winter, there appear prevalent, specific strains of influenza, engendering yearly, strain-specific vaccines.
  • Especially at risk for influenza are people in closed environments (e.g., nursing homes, prisons, schools, military), those with chronic illnesses such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and heart disease, and those with weakened body defenses (e.g., cancer, AIDS, elderly, newborns, etc.)

  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lack of energy
  • Muscle aches
  • Red Eyes
  • Occasional nausea

  • Influenza A or Influenza B.
  • Transmitted person-to-person by respiratory droplets

  • Decreased white blood cell count is common.
  • Virus may be cultured.
  • Antibody testing may be positive in the 2nd week.

  • Bed rest as needed
  • Tylenol or ibuprofen for fever and aching
  • Cough suppressants as needed
  • Antiviral medications, e.g., Ribavirin aerosolized
  • Antibiotics are not effective against influenza, but may be prescribed if a secondary infection, such as Bronchitis or Pneumonia, is suspected.

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Otitis Media (middle ear infection)
  • Sinusitis
  • Reye's Syndrome is a rare pediatric complication in which liver failure and brain swelling occur.  Aspirin increases the likelihood of this syndrome and should always be avoided in children.  (Tylenol and ibuprofen are usually safe for children but follow instructions from your doctor carefully on use.)

  • The influenza vaccine, generally available in October or November each year, provides protection against influenza strains of the coming year.  High-risk individuals who should definitely receive vaccination include those above 65 years old, those with respiratory illnesses such as Asthma or Emphysema, those with heart disease, anyone with an underlying debilitating illness, and health care workers.




more about Flu


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