All About the Flu

During the winter months people are infected more with the flu virus. Symptoms of flu are harmful and for some people they are life threatening also. With the help of health resources and natural flu remedies you can prevent the flu. To prevent the flu you must know certain things like-what is the flu, how is it different from a cold, how is flu spread and who all are infected easily. To prevent the flu from infecting us, we must have an answer to all these questions.

Defining Flu

Flu is short for Influenza. It is a highly infectious disease which is classified into two forms of the virus, influenza A and B viruses. Influenza A and B virus attacks us from our respiratory tract.

Difference between Cold and Flu

At times symptoms of the flu and the common cold seem similar. Both cold and flu are respiratory tract viral infections. Symptoms of flu become worse as time passes by. Cold only weaken you slightly but flu can shatter your health and make you tremble with the simple thought of getting out of bed.

When you are affected by common cold you experience congestion, sore throat and sneezing. Symptoms like coughing, headache and uneasiness in chest are same for patients of common cold and flu. In addition to these symptoms flu patients suffer from high fever, headache, fatigue, and weakness. Like flu, the common cold is not life threatening. Good antiviral medications can help you in decreasing cold and flu infections.

Difference between stomach flu and influenza

Stomach flu is gastroenteritis which is very common nowadays. Gastroenteritis is irritation in the stomach and intestines. Stomach flu can be caused by contaminated food and unclean water. Common symptoms of gastroenteritis are unsettled stomach, stomach pain, nausea, sickness, and diarrhea.

Influenza symptoms are not at all good and are worse than stomach flu. Flu comes on unexpectedly so you may never know how and when you were infected by the flu virus. Influenza enters our body through our nose and settles itself inside the respiratory tract.

How is flu spread

You can prevent the flu from spreading once you know how it is spread. Flu is highly infectious, so naturally it spreads from one person to another through the air and in crowded place such as malls, movie theaters, market places, school classrooms, college dormitories, military barracks, offices, and nursing homes and in those places where ventilation is not up to the mark or when you come in direct contact with an infected person.

You come in direct contact with flu virus when you inhale the flu virus along with the air in the atmosphere or when you touch something that was touched earlier by an infected person. In the later case you get infected by the virus when you touch your face or head.

To prevent flu from spreading you must keep your hands clean by washing your hands regularly or by using alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Who all can have flu complications?

Anybody from an infant to an elderly person can get flu. But people with weak immune systems and those people who are already suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, bronchitis, asthma and AIDS have maximum risk of flu infections.

Nowadays we have various treatments and remedies available to us, that can prevent flu symptoms to an extent. Flu vaccine can prevent certain flu strains. Antiviral medicines and vaccines can help you a lot in reducing the severity of flu as well as the duration of flu symptoms.

Different type of flu viruses

You can prevent flu if you are aware of the causes of flu. The types of viruses that cause the flu are divided into three major categories: Influenza A, Influenza B and Influenza C.

Influenza A: this is the most common flu type. This flu virus affects humans, mammals and birds. Bird flu is a recent entry in this type of flu virus. Other than bird flu there are Hong Kong Flu, Asian flu, Spanish Flu, and Russian Flu that has already killed millions and millions of people worldwide. Influenza A is responsible for higher death rates every year. Flu vaccine can help protect you from type A and B flu viruses. You can find Influenza A flu viruses in various animals like ducks, chickens, pigs, whales, horses, and seals.

Influenza B: Influenza B affects humans and seals. This is less common and causes milder flu infections.

Influenza C: Influenza C affects humans as well as pigs. This flu virus is more constant and it generally causes milder respiratory tract symptoms. There is no flu shot for Influenza C.

Why flu is mostly spread during the winter months

Various factors play a major role in the spreading of the flu during the winter season. First of all, flu virus can survive indoors for a longer period of time as compared to the outdoors. Secondly, during winter the virus can stay alive for a longer period of time and thus can also infect anybody who inhales the virus. They can also infect a person through the eyes, nose and mouth. Thirdly, people prefer to be indoors in winter season helping the virus to spread easily from one person to another.

Basic habits by which you can prevent flu

1. Cover you mouth as well as your nose while sneezing

2. Blow your nose with tissue and then throw them away. Immediately clean your hands with soap.

3. Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water and ensure that your hands are germ free. After washing, dry your hands with a clean towel.

4. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands after touching anything else.

5. Use an alcohol based sanitizer if you are away from home. Alcohol helps in killing bacteria. That is why doctors also prescribe them as a prevention method.

6. Take a sauna bath. This will help you in relaxing and at the same time the virus can not survive in a hot atmosphere. In sauna air you breathe in vry hot and moist air which makes it impossible for the flu viruses to stay alive. Steamy bathrooms also help in relaxing the nasal passage, and helps to moisten and thin mucus.

7. Drink lot of water. It will help you to keep your mucous membrane well hydrated. Hot liquids help you in relaxing your upper respiratory infections.