Everyone is at risk of contracting and spreading the flu. The flu can keep people away from work or school, making them feel quite unhappy for a week or two. Flu is caused by influenza viruses that affect different parts of the body such as the throat, nose and lungs and bronchi. These viruses spread when droplets reach the air and the mouths or noses of nearby people when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. People can also get flu when they touch a surface or object with the flu virus and then touch their own mouth, eyes or nose. People can spread the flu without knowing that they are sick, starting 1 day before symptoms appear and up to 5 to 7 days after they become ill. Some people (young children, those with weakened immune systems) take longer to spread the virus to others.
Early Flu Symptoms
Flu (influenza) symptoms usually come on suddenly. If the early symptoms of the flu can be detected, the spread of the virus can be prevented and treatment can be started before the disease gets worse. Early symptoms include:
- -Body aches, chills and shaking
- -Cough (usually dry)
- -Throat ache
- -Gastrointestinal problems
There are some early symptoms specific to children.
Below is information on how to relieve flu symptoms.
1-Sudden or extreme tiredness
When the winter months come, the days become shorter and less sunlight reaches the earth, so they may feel tired. Sudden and extreme fatigue development is an early symptom of the flu and may precede other symptoms. Fatigue is also a symptom of the common cold, but its intensity is usually high when associated with the flu. Fatigue, extreme weakness may interfere with normal activities. Activities should be limited, the body should be rested, a day or two off from school or work and a stay in bed. Rest can strengthen the immune system and help fight the virus.
2-Body aches, chills and shaking
Body aches, chills, and chills are common symptoms of the flu. Someone infected with the flu virus may mistakenly blame something other than body aches, such as a workout. Body aches, mostly in the back, head and legs, can also manifest in another part of the body. Chills can be felt along with body aches. Chills can also be seen before the flu gets fever. The person who sees these symptoms can wrap himself / herself with a blanket and increase their body temperature and reduce the feeling of being cold. Body aches can be relieved with some over-the-counter pain relievers.
Persistent dry cough can be an early sign of flu. It is also known that the flu virus causes cough with wheezing and chest tightness. Mucus or sputum may be removed while coughing. However, early productive cough (wet cough with mucus or sputum) is rare in those with the flu. Those with some respiratory problems, such as emphysema or asthma, should consult their doctor to prevent further complications from occurring. If it is noticed that the sputum smells bad or is colored, the doctor should be contacted. Complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis can occur with the flu. Cough can be calmed by cough syrups. It can be relaxing for people to keep themselves and their throat hydrated with plenty of water and beverages such as decaffeinated tea. To prevent the infection from spreading, a handkerchief should always be used when coughing, the mouth should be closed, and the hands should be washed immediately.
Cough from flu can cause sore throat. Some other viruses, including influenza (flu), can cause swelling of the throat without causing a cough. In the early stages of flu, the throat may itch and irritation may also occur. There may be a strange sensation when swallowing food or drinks. If you have a sore throat, it may get worse as the viral infection progresses. Noodle soup prepared with chicken broth, caffeine-free tea and water should be consumed. You can also add 1 teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of warm water and dissolve it and gargle. The process can be repeated every two hours.
Fever indicates that the body is fighting infection. Flu fever is generally above 38 degrees Celsius. Although fever is common in the early stages, not everyone with the flu may have a fever. As the virus continues to multiply, there may be no fever or feverish chills. Usually ibuprofen and acetaminophen are effective in reducing fever but not effective on the virus.
Early symptoms of flu may extend to the throat, head and under the chest. Some types of viruses can cause stomach nausea, pain, vomiting or diarrhea, but such symptoms are more common in children than in adults. Dehydration, or dehydration, is a dangerous consequence of vomiting and diarrhea. Water should be drunk first so that the body is not dehydrated. You can also drink sugar-free juices, sports drinks, caffeine-free teas and broths.
Flu Symptoms in Children
Flu symptoms in school-age children and adolescents are similar to those of adults. Apart from these, some different symptoms that require medical intervention may be seen in children.
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Crying without tears
- Doesn’t wake up or interact
- Inability to eat
- Fever (between 39.5 and 40 degrees Celsius) with the rash
- Difficulty to urinate
It can be difficult to distinguish between colds and flu in preschool children and infants because their symptoms are very similar to infections caused by other viruses. In both, children may have a sore throat, cough, and body aches. Flu symptoms can be more severe. The absence of high fever or other severe symptoms in the child may indicate the presence of a cold, not the flu. If there are concerns about a symptom developing in children, the pediatrician should be consulted.
When to See the Doctor?
For the annual flu vaccine: 6-month-old babies and anyone who is older, especially those in the risk group, should visit their doctor every year to get a flu shot. The best time for this is right after the vaccine is ready in autumn.
If flu symptoms develop: People should contact a doctor as soon as possible to seek prompt treatment with antivirals, especially if the risk of complications is high. Antivirals are effective in reducing the severity of the flu and the duration of the illness.
For flu complications: Pneumonia (pneumonia) can be caused by the flu virus or bacteria entering the lungs when the body’s defense system is weakened by the flu. A doctor should be consulted if the following situations arise:
– If you have difficulty breathing
– If you experience chest pain as a result of cough
– Coughing up yellow, green or bloody sputum
If the cough does not go away: After the flu symptoms disappear, it may be a cough that lasts for weeks or months and does not sleep at night. This cough has been associated with asthma-like symptoms and can be treated with asthma medications. A specialist should be consulted if there is such a cough.
Possible complications of the flu
Symptoms generally pass in 1-2 weeks. Sometimes additional complications can be seen in those in the high risk group. Some of the possible complications are:
– Lung inflammation
– Ear infection
Most people recover from the flu within a week or two, but others, especially the elderly, may feel weak for a long time even after other symptoms have gone. Experts recommend not returning to school or work until a 24-hour fever-free without fever-reducing medication. Although there is no fever, it is okay to rest and stay home until other symptoms improve. If people can continue their normal daily activities without getting tired, they can return to school or work. The recovery time may not be the same for everyone. Recovery time can be accelerated and the severity of the disease can be reduced with antiviral drugs. After feeling well, you may feel tired for a few more weeks and the cough may continue. After recovery, symptoms return or if the condition worsens, a doctor should be consulted.
Flu Risk Factors
The risk of developing complications from the flu is higher if you have asthma or other lung diseases. Flu is a disease that can have serious consequences for everyone in the risk group. Some diseases that put people at high risk include:
– Chronic lung diseases such as asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis
– Heart disease
– Chronic kidney disease
– Diabetes or other chronic metabolic disorders
– Morbid obesity
– Severe anemia (including sickle cell anemia)
– Immunosuppressive diseases (HIV, AIDS) or treatments (steroids, chemotherapy)
– Liver diseases
Children and adolescents on long-term aspirin therapy
People at higher risk of complications, such as those with chronic lung disease, should seek immediate medical attention. They can be treated with antiviral medications that can reduce symptoms when started immediately after being sick.
How Can Flu Be Prevented?
The flu virus can be prevented. Getting the flu shot every year is a good way to be protected. The flu vaccine is recommended for anyone 6 months and older, including pregnant women. Protecting from viruses that cause respiratory illness is an important priority during the flu season. When infected people cough or sneeze, the disease is transmitted to others by the spread of infected droplets to the environment. Droplets can reach people at close range and surfaces at a distance of about 2 meters. Exposure to the virus and disease can be achieved by breathing in air containing droplets or by touching objects that have come into contact with the droplets. As a precaution, people with influenza should not be present. People who are sick, especially those with high fever, should stay at home, cover the mouth with a tissue or inside the elbow while coughing, sneezing, washing hands, and reducing the frequency of touching the mouth or nose to protect others.