Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Influenza
Causes of influenza
A change in the virus RNA can cause mutation of the influenza viruses thereby producing new strains. This constant changing causes the virus to evade the immune system even if you taken shots and other precautions. A person is susceptible to influenza virus throughout his or her lifetime. Even though you have taken proper protection your body the antibodies in your body will not recognize the new strains of virus and you will become sick. People are susceptible to novel flu viruses such as bird flu and swine flu because the antibodies don’t recognize them. Influenza vaccine dosages are constantly evolved to fight off these infections but by the time a person gets infected it’s too late for the influenza vaccine dosages to work.
Diagnosis of influenza
Prior to diagnosing you with influenza, your doctor will perform a physical examination. He may ask you a number of questions to decipher whether it is respiratory problems that are bothering you or influenza. A fluid sample from the back of your nose is collected on a small cotton swab to check if the flu virus is present. The doctor will also ensure that you don’t have any complications of the flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
What influenza treatments are available?
The first line of influenza defense begins at home. You must take proper rest, drink lots of fluids including water and fruit juices and avoid physical exertion at all costs. If you take prescription antiviral drugs, you may be able to resume your normal activities in a day of 2. However, if you have body temperature, you might need to rest longer. Drugs like amantadine and rimantadine are used for the influenza treatment of virus A. These drugs can reduce the duration of uncomplicated influenza.
Neuraminidase inhibitors can treat both influenza virus A and B by inactivating an enzyme that the virus needs to grow and spread. There are currently 2 medications available for influenza treatment, they are Relenza and Tamiflu. The active ingredient in Relenza is zanamivir and it is to be inhaled through a device that looks like an asthma inhaler. This drug shouldn’t be taken by people who have lung diseases and asthma. Tamiflu comes in a pill form and the active ingredient in it is oseltamivir. This medication is to be taken within 48 hours of getting infected. This influenza treatment drug can also be taken as a preventative medication if people in your neighborhood have infections.
Complications occurring due to influenza
The most common complications occurring due to influenza are bronchitis and pneumonia. These complications can turn out to be fatal too. It can also worsen existing symptoms of other common heart diseases such as congestive heart failure and lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and asthma. Thousands of Americans are hospitalized every year due to the virus and about 20,000 people die due to the complications of the influenza.
How to prevent influenza?
It is possible to prevent influenza with simple good health habits. Here are a few tips to prevent influenza and keep the virus at bay:
Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Don’t leave the house if you are sick and even stay away from others from preventing them getting sick
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
If you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Always dispose off your tissues at once to prevent others from getting sick
Prevention of avian influenza and other types of influenza that spread from mammals can be practiced by keeping safe distance from animals and wearing a mask around them.