|Influenza is a viral infections which starts in the upper respiratory tract involving the nose, mouth and throat. |
Influenza can result in incapacitating quite a large part of the general population at any given time. The incubation period is 1 to 4 days and the germs are spread as droplets by coughing and sneezing. The onset is sudden with muscle and joint aches and pains, a fever which leads on to a sore throat, a cough, headache and generalised weakness which is severe enough to put you to bed. The fever can last for up to a week and is a guide to the acute state of the disease and the need for bed rest.
Treatment consists of bed rest to prevent complications, and the use of pain killers such as paracetamol or aspirin in adults, and a sedative cough mixture.
Complications include bacterial infections of the sinuses, the ears, the throat and the chest with a severe bronchitis which can lead on to pneumonia.
Whilst influenza is caused by a virus, the complications are due to secondary bacterial infection and should be treated with antibiotics.
In the case of the elderly, influenza can be a life threatening disease with fatal involvement of the heart and lungs.
Consider that in all cases of influenza a doctor should be called if the fever lasts longer than 4 days and there are signs of bacterial complications such as a productive cough or discharging ears, particularly in the young.
Influenza virus vaccines are available each year to help build up your resistance to influenza. They should be given in Autumn and the benefits can last from 2 to 12 months. Yearly vaccination is recommended for high risk groups. That is :-
|Anaemia||Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia|
|Blood Pressure including Hypertension||Boils and Carbuncles|
|Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy||Chronic Bronchitis|
|Cold Sores (Herpes Simplex)||Colostomy and Ileostomy|
|Glandular Fever (Infectious Mononucleosis)||Gout|
|Legionnaires Disease||Low Blood Pressure|
|Osteoporosis||Peptic Ulcers (Gastric or Duodenal)|
|Poor Circulation (incl Buergers & Raynauds Disease)||Prostate Problems|
|Sleeping Difficulties (Insomnia)||Slipped Disc|
|Spinal Injuries||The Common Cold|
|The Overactive Thyroid Gland||The Underactive Thyroid Gland|
|Thrombophlebitis of Superficial Veins||Thrombosis in Veins|
|Tonsillitis and Complications|
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