Stating that influenza, which is often called “flu”, is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract, Medicana Çamlıca Hospital, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Uzm. Dr. Kadir Göktürk said that influenza is more severe when compared to other respiratory tract infections such as the common cold.
Emphasizing that influenza, which is considered one of the life-threatening infectious diseases and an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract, causes the death of an average of 500 thousand people worldwide every year, Medicana Çamlıca Hospital Infectious Diseases Specialist, Uzm. Dr. Kadir Göktürk stated that the flu can affect 40% of the population every year in some countries and said, “The causative agent of influenza infection is viruses classified into three different types, namely influenza A, B and C. The most common types of disease in humans are influenza A and B.” said.
Stating that influenza is an infectious disease that spreads between October and May every year, Infectious Diseases Specialist, Uzm. Dr. Kadir Göktürk answered the curious questions about the subject.
How is the flu transmitted?
Influenza viruses are mainly transmitted and spread by close contact, as well as by inhaling airborne droplets from an infected person when speaking, sneezing or coughing. Being in the same environment with people who have the flu (one meter in diameter) is considered contact. It can remain viable for 2-8 hours on infected surfaces. Anyone can get the flu. The flu starts suddenly and can last for several days.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Although it varies according to age groups, we can list the symptoms as follows: It starts suddenly after an average of two to three days of incubation period. It shows signs of sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue and weakness, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and tearing in the eyes. Children, on the other hand, may present with symptoms such as higher fever and related seizures, enlarged lymph nodes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea than adults, since they have not encountered the virus before. It can also cause pneumonia and blood infections. In those with heart or lung disease, the flu can make these conditions worse.
Since they have not encountered the virus before, higher fever, febrile seizures, lymph node enlargement, more digestive system involvement (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) and less respiratory system findings (dry cough, runny nose, burning in the throat) can be observed in children compared to adults.
It is more dangerous for some people as well as infants and young children. Those aged 65 and over, pregnant women, people with certain diseases and those with weakened immune systems can be considered in the highest risk group.
How is the treatment of the flu?
Antiviral drugs that act directly against the flu virus can be used for treatment. Antiviral drugs can be effective if used within 24-48 hours after the onset of complaints. There is no scientific evidence that using these drugs after the first 48 hours cures the disease. In addition to the use of antiviral drugs, aspirin should never be used in treatment. In addition, antipyretic and pain relievers, drugs to relieve nasal discharge and congestion are also frequently used. During the treatment, plenty of fluids should be taken and bed rest should be done. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed abundantly. Hands should be washed frequently. It is appropriate to use a mask to reduce the spread of the disease.
Could the flu vaccine be a preventative treatment?
The vaccine can prevent you from getting the flu. Even if it infects you, it can make you have a milder illness; can prevent you from infecting your family and other people. One dose of flu vaccine is recommended each flu season. Children younger than 9 years old may need two doses during the same flu season. Everyone older than this age only needs one dose per flu season. There are many flu viruses, and these viruses are constantly changing. Each year, an effective LAIV is produced against four viruses most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season. Protection develops about 2 weeks after vaccination and continues throughout the flu season.
The groups recommended by the World Health Organization to be vaccinated annually are as follows:
• Expectant mothers during pregnancy
• Children aged 6 months – 5 years
• Adults aged 65 and over
• Those with chronic health problems
• Health workers
What foods are good for the flu?
Chicken soup, trotter soup, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon tea, ginger, echinacea, rosehip, sage, thyme tea, eucalyptus tea, honey, onion and garlic are the main foods that are beneficial for influenza disease.
How can we protect ourselves from the flu?
It is necessary to stay away from crowded environments, use masks, wash hands frequently, eat healthy, avoid fatigue and insomnia, and consume plenty of fluids in order not to catch the disease during the seasons when the flu is common and epidemic. In order to prevent contamination, the mouth and nose should be covered with a tissue during sneezing, coughing and sneezing, and the tissue should be thrown away. Not sending sick children to kindergartens or schools can slow the spread of the disease. It is beneficial to avoid kissing and shaking hands in winter.