Influenza, or better known as flu, is a common thing among us. When we have running nose and if anyone asks us what’s wrong, we’ll immediately say, FLU. But, are you really sure it is flu? Most of us usually get confused between having a cold and flu. Yes, both are different. Cold is milder than flu, which has much more severe symptoms.
Although both are respiratory illnesses, they are not the same because they are caused by different viruses. People with colds are usually prone to a runny or stuffy nose and at times slight fever. Unlike flu that comes together with headaches, cough and worse still has high chances of developing into pneumonia, infections and others.
Types of Influenza
There are three types of flu viruses, A, B and C, where A and B are more common or annual in certain countries around the globe.
Influenza A viruses are capable of infecting animals, although it is more common for people to suffer the ailments associated with this type of flu. Wild birds commonly act as the hosts for this flu virus. Whereas, influenza B is only found in humans and it has less severe reactions compared to influenza A.
Since influenza A is now affecting the nation, let us have a deeper understanding of the symptoms, treatments and preventions.
Symptoms Of Influenza A
To start off, I was diagnosed with influenza A in mid last year and was hospitalized for one week. I was vomiting every time I ate something and I had terrible pain in my joints, as well as feverish every night and a continuous cough. At first, I was told it’s dengue as my platelet count was decreasing and that’s when I get admitted. But upon testing, they identified it was influenza A.
The symptoms may vary depending on the individual. The common ones are as below:
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Fever or feverish or chills
Treatments For Influenza A
First of all, you need to be fully hydrated, so drink lots and lots of water to avoid being dehydrated, as it may cause other complications. Another important thing is that you need to get adequate rest.
Usually, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu. But if you have a severe infection or are at higher risk for complications, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, for example, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.
I understand that you are equally lost like me with the jargons, let me explain it further. Oseltamivir is an oral medication. Zanamivir is inhaled through a device similar to an asthma inhaler and shouldn’t be used by anyone with certain chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma and lung disease.
Since there is a huge outbreak in Malaysia at the moment, it is important to make sure you are well protected from being affected by the virus. The following is what you need to do to stay away from influenza A.
- Wear a mask
- Get a flu vaccine
- Drink lots of water
- Make sure those who are coughing in your surrounding has their mouth covered
- Take vitamin C
- If you are diagnosed, please don’t spread it to others
Our ‘Two Sats’
As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. So please be aware of your surrounding and make sure you follow the abovementioned prevention measures. In case you are in doubt, quickly reach to the nearest clinic and get yourself checked. Most importantly, DO NOT BE YOUR OWN DOCTOR.
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Known as Loki (the good one though), is someone who loves the rain & coffee combo and reaches out for movie at her leisure. She is the one you heard on radio for one of her articles.