Description flu

Influenza is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory system that is spread by droplet path. The cause of it is an RNA virus (family of orthomyxoviruses, genus Influenzavirus) that can be propagated and penetrating through the airway mucosa. The incubation period is 1-3 days. Incidence peaks in the winter months, particularly in February and March.

On the surface of the virus are two protein substanceshemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N), which are the main tools to virus attack (talking about the antigenic determinants or structures). Both of these structures may exist in several variants and may be varied, which is the basis for annual epidemics.

There are two main genera of influenza – virus A and B virus(therefore cause influenza A or B). Influenza virus type C causes only isolated cases, mostly among children rather than adults.These conditions, however, are clinically indistinguishable from other (lighter) viral respiratory illness (fever and sore throat).

Influenza A is more serious, and for this reason, that in the on-going major changes to either the hemagglutinin or neuraminidase (antigenic shift or shift basis is a mutation in a specific location, viral RNA) which is our population accustomed and which are more difficult balances than with minor changes as is the case with influenza type B (only small changes are called drifts, are also flu type A). Influenza type A is severe and therefore is able to cause a pandemic.

According to currently anticipated type of haemagglutinin and neuraminidase are annually proposedvaccines effective against a certain type of influenza, in which it is assumed that the given year most likely will occur. Due to the changes that take place in these viruses, we can become ill every year and more than once.


Risk factors for flu

Risk factors include contact with a sick person or the person infected, or no manifestations of the disease (recall that the usual incubation period is 2 or 3 days), then weakened organism, such as another ongoing acute illness or when the disease chronic (congenital immune defects or obtained – e.g. HIV, or has AIDS, heart disease, lung cancer, etc.).

An important factor is age, more risk are children and old people, but influenza type A can be carried out seriously and in a young otherwise healthy individuals.


prevention of influenza

Suitable prevention is presently considered to vaccination, however, even this is not foolproof. The inoculant is always determined for the particular season and includes anti estimated two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B. It is reported that after 7 days of vaccination is protected by 59%, after 14 days for 80% of vaccinated individuals.

In our market there are several types of vaccines in different price variation. Previously, the vaccine used a virus inactivated (unable to cause flu-like illness). These vaccines, however, were withdrawn because they have side effects (reactogenicity were). Currently used to induce an immune response in the vaccinated highly purified and cleaved vaccine (split vaccines). Other options includesubunit vaccines which contain only the surface structure of the virus (hemagglutinin, neuraminidase) – these are very expensive, with minimum side effects, are therefore especially suitable for older people.

Another suitable measure is the increased intake of vitamins, minerals and trace elements,especially during the winter months and, of course, generally balanced and varied diet, including adequate intake of fruits and vegetables.


Signs and symptoms of influenza

Disease begins suddenly from full health fever 38 ° – 40 ° C, accompanied by fever, chills, pain in muscles and joints and extreme tiredness.

This condition often comes so suddenly that the patient is unable to remember even for an hour, exactly when the problems began.

Symptoms can be enriched with headache, pain behind the eyes, digestive problems and irritating cough, which is fairly common and characteristic, dry at first, later you may add coughing up phlegm.

Attention to the usual image influenza not rhinitis and sore throat (angina), but also these conditions may patient occur, usually as the third day of disease onset (i.e. related to the general weakening of the body, but not directly with flu virus).

Some patients may experience loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. Illness usually lasts 5-7 days and then subsides, although fatigue may persist for several days or weeks (a month).


treatment of influenza

The treatment is mainly bed rest and symptomatic therapy, thus they are given drugs that reduce fever (antipyretics) and pain (analgesics), dampening cough (antitussive) and it is necessary to increase the intake of fluids.

In severe course they may be given antiviral drugs. Antiviral agents are active against the virus – the virus specifically bind to and block it, they can not destroy him but directly as is the case with certain antibiotics for bacterial infections. By blocking the action of a virus infection, however, allow the body to better cope with the virus to cope.

At present, there are several such products, however, are only effective against some viral infections. Among the antiviral drugs used against influenza include amantadine (Viregyt) andrimantadine (newer than amantadine, but we is not available), or more advanced products such asoseltamivir (known as Tamiflu). These drugs act at different levels of virus attack, reduce the time of treatment and relieve symptoms.


How can I help myself

Classically ongoing flu without complications can do to cure themselves at home. The important thing is bed rest, plenty of fluids, preferably mineral water, a higher intake of vitamins in the form of fruits, possibly with add-ons (eg. Supradyne) and anti-fever and pain, which generally relieves (Paralen).

The treatment usually lasts a week. In the aftermath of the disease it is not appropriate to do sports, because the body is still weak and you could thus facilitate the conditions for the acquisition and development of other infectious diseases.


complications of influenza

Complications of flu can be so severe that debilitated people may even end in death.

Very dangerous complication of the infection spreading to other organs – lung inflammation(primary influenza pneumonia) and brain damage (flu enfcefalitida). These states are still too frequent, however, are a major threat to the life of the individual.

When weakened organism also can be applied bacterial infection (we talk about. Superinfection).

A complicating factor is the condition resulting from the severity of the disease – dehydration (loss of water due to fever and sweating) and muscle cramps. Therefore, it is much needed drinks and mineral intake.

Other names: avian, influenza A, influenza type B

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