Friday, August 15, 2008

Flu: not a common cold

Many people believe that of "flu" is the same disease as the common cold and that is relatively harmless condition. This is a misconception, since every year millions of people around the world are infected by the flu virus, which causes thousands of people to die as a result of its complications.

Flu is a highly contagious viral disease, which spread quickly by small airborne particles through talking, coughing and sneezing. A flu episode could result in minimum of five days bed rest as well as a two-week recovery period. Characteristics of flu symptoms are coughing, headache, fever, muscle aches and extreme fatigue. influenza can lead to serious pulmonary complications including pneumonia, croup,asthma and bronchitis and can cause death among high-risk people

By comparison a cold is transmitted in a similar manner to flu and may have similar symptoms, but is a milder form of respiratory infection and usually less severe symptoms. It is also not as dangerous as flu.

Everyone is at risk for contracting influenza, however those at risk of developing complications from flu include people of 65 years of age or older with underlying chronic heart and lung disease including asthma, with metabolic disease like diabetes and renal failure, children on aspirin therapy and those who are immuno- suppressed. Persons who come who come in contact with such high-risk individuals. such as caregivers and household contacts shroud also be vaccinated.

Flu treatments are not always satisfactory. Antibiotics are ineffective against the virus although they may help with the treatment of complications and secondary infections like bacterial pneumonia. On the other hand, vaccination against flu has been repeatedly shown to reduce the incidence of flu or at least reduce its severity, and remained the most effective method of controlling it


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