The infectious influenza virus

What is influenza (flu)? This is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and can sometimes lead to death.

People who have the flu often experience fever / chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue (very tired). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults. My children and I experience these symptoms. They just got out of the hospital last night while I wasn’t confined because no one would take care of them if the three of us were hospitalized. I received the same medication that they have; just one outpatient.

Prior to this incident, I attended a weeklong business proposal preparation seminar at a hotel in Davao city. The place was not inside the hotel but in a separate place; say about 50 meters away. We walk this distance every day. From the hotel to the venue, the temperature was a mixture of too cold, too hot, and then too cold. During our last day, I experienced a runny nose and a slight fever. When I got home, I was really very tired and sick. So, my children took care of me. Unfortunately, on my second day at home, my son had a fever and then my daughter got infected too. Since they had a very high fever, I actually confined them to a hospital to receive the proper medication. We were in the hospital for almost a week and only last night we were discharged. But even so, my children were not feeling well and I was not feeling well despite the heavy dose of antibiotics.

Without knowing it, most healthy adults can infect others starting 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after getting sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, may infect others for an even longer time.

Complications of the flu include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people. Serious flu-related problems can occur at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick, such as people 65 and older; people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease; pregnant women; and young children.

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viral or bacterial causes of respiratory illness based solely on symptoms. Tests are available to diagnose the flu. But the most important step in preventing the flu is getting a flu shot every year.

I also realized that when you are infected with the flu, you need to stay away from other people so that you cannot spread them as well. The spread of this virus is very fast. Therefore, covering up when coughing and sneezing and washing your hands frequently can also help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lung) illnesses.

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