INFLUENZA

What is Flu?

Influenza is an contagious acute viral respiratory infection that affects mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes.

Influenza circulates worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group.

Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations.

Symptoms of Flu
– fever (often high 38-40˚C)
– headache
– extreme tiredness
– dry cough
– sore throat
– runny or stuffy nose
– muscle aches
– Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

How Flu Spreads?
Person to person – coughing or sneezing of people with influenza.

Cross contamination – touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.

* Healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. – That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Treatment
– Paracetamol is taken for fever.
– Adequate rest.
– Increase intake of oral fluids and eat nutritious foods.

Consult your physician if symptoms persist.
– Use of antiviral agents within the first two days may halt the course of influenza illness.
– Antibiotics to be given only to complications of influenza such as Pneumonia or Otitis media.

Flu Prevention Tips
Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of influenza and other infections:
• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue
or the inside of your elbow — not your hand.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. Or use an alcohol-based
hand cleaner.
• Don’t get too close to people who are sick.
• If you get sick yourself, avoid close contact with other people.
• Stay home from work or school until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without fever-reducing medicine.

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get VACCINATED each year.

Benefits of Flu Vaccination
– Decreases the number of episodes upper respiratory illnesses 25%-34%
– Reduces days of sick leave from work due to upper respiratory illnesses by 32%-43%
– Lessens work absenteeism due to illness by 36%
– Decreases Physicians visit for upper respiratory illness by 34%-44%
– Reduces influenza like illnesses by 25%

Reference:
Nichol, KL et al. The Effectiveness of vaccination against influenza in healthy working adults. New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 37, 1995
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