Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Influenza or flu is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. However, respiratory flu is not similar to stomach flu that is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. The effects of influenza might resolve on their own, but not all the time. In some cases, the flu can cause deadly complications.

There are members of the population that are at risk of developing complications as a result of influenza, such as:

  • Infants, especially under the age of 6 months
  • Older people over 65 years
  • Pregnant and women who have given birth in the last two weeks
  • Members of the population with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart, liver, and kidney condition
  • People with a body mass index of over 40
  • If you have a weakened immune system

Signs and Symptoms of Flu

During the early stages of a flu infection, it may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing. However, the flu is sudden, while the common cold takes time to show some signs. A cold can be severe, but you feel worse when you have the flu.

Some of the signs of flu include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Headache
  • Chills and profuse sweating episodes
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Body weakness and fatigue
  • Runny nose that can be stuffy sometimes
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, especially in children

Apart from a common cold, the symptoms of the flu can resemble the ones for COVID-19. Therefore, you should consider visiting an emergency clinic in Austin for diagnosis and treatments.

When Should I Visit an ER near Me?

Most people try home remedies and don’t need a doctor for flu treatment. However, there are cases you will need medical attention.  By taking antiviral drugs, you can prevent complications associated with influenza.

If you have the following emergency signs of flu, you can consider an ER near you:

  • Difficulties breathing or shortness o breath
  • Chest pains
  • Severe joint and muscle pains
  • Dehydration
  • Worsening of pre-existing conditions
  • Seizures and convulsions in children

Causes of Flu

Flu is a result of influenza A or B virus infection.  The influenza virus is airborne, thus highly contagious. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, you might come into contact with the viral droplets and contract influenza.

Infected people are highly contagious from a day before the symptoms start showing and five days after they start showing. If you have had the flu in the past, your body has already created antibodies to fight your condition. However, influenza viruses keep changing and new strains emerging.

The antibody load might decline in the body hence not able to fight the virus. Also, antibodies you have developed in the past can’t fight new strains of the influenza virus. Therefore, you should consider visiting an Austin ER for diagnosis and treatments.

Diagnosis

Some signs of influenza match those of COVID-19 and the common cold. Therefore, you should consider visiting your doctor for a diagnosis.

At our emergency room in 78741, the doctor will carry out physical exams and ask you about the symptoms. The doctor can also order tests to detect influenza viruses.  If there is an influenza outbreak, your doctor might not need to carry out confirmatory tests. Instead, the doctor will check the symptoms you have before recommending the best treatments.

Polymerase chain testing is one of the testing techniques that your doctor can use to test for influenza. During the COVID-19 pandemic period, it is easy to test for both influenza and coronavirus.

Treatment

Since the flu is a viral infection, you only need plenty of fluids and rest to get through it. However, if you have severe flu that could lead to further complications, your doctor might prescribe an antiviral drug to fight the influenza virus. The antiviral drug does not provide a cure for the disease but reduces the signs and symptoms to a day.

Prevent the Spread of Flu

Our doctor at Express ER in Austin recommends prevention over treatments. Therefore, to prevent contracting or spreading the disease, you can do the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Avoid touching your surfaces as well as your face, especially during an outbreak
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

Do not go out in crowds if you are infected

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