When we hear that the flu season has started, we know that children, parents and senior citizens will be queueing up at health centers everywhere to get immunized or treated. When you see someone sneezing or coughing you are worried, not only for fear of contracting an infection, but also because there are no long term medications for preventing one.
The flu season starts in Fall, continues through the winter and ends in Spring. It becomes more acute during winter. The virus propagates from one person to other either by direct contact, like handshakes or indirectly through air or common surfaces like door knobs etc. The virus then enters the body via nose or eye. Once one family member is infected the virus easily spreads within the family affecting rest of the family members. Of course, if proper care is taken then spread of virus in the family can be prevented.
Common cold vs Flu
It is best to know differences between the common cold and the Flu as both are caused by Virus but are different in severity of disease that they cause in human beings. Both common cold and flu are contagious viral infections which mostly involve respiratory system. We can surely try to minimize duration of Flu and also if we take some precautions we can even avoid it altogether.
Common cold is generally caused by any one of more than 200 different viruses. Since these are different viruses our body is not able to build resistance against all of these viruses. This is the real reason why colds are frequent and recurring problem. Some of the viruses responsible for common cold are Rhinovirus and Corona virus.
Symptoms of a common cold usually appear about one to three days after exposure to a cold virus. Signs and symptoms of a common cold may include :
Runny or stuffy nose
Itchy or sore throat
Slight body aches or mild headache
Children, in general, feel sicker due to common cold than adults do, and they often develop other complications, such as ear infections. Your child may not need to see a doctor for routine common cold. However, you should seek medical attention right away if your child shows any of the following signs or symptoms
Fever of 103 F (39.5 C) or higher, chills or sweating
Fever that lasts more than three days or there is a relapse within two days
Vomiting or abdominal pain
Difficulty breathing and/or wheezing
There is a variety of Influenza caused by influenza viruses. The common influenza virus, Avian variety of influenza virus, and also the recent outbreak of the swine flu virus, i.e., H1N1. Influenza viruses are of three types, type A, B and C. While type A and B are quite common, type C is rare and creates mild symptoms. Type B virus produces local outbreaks, whereas type A is more deadly and can effect pandemics. Avian flu and H1N1 belong to type A.
Symptoms of Flu are the following:
Fever over 101 F (38 C) in adults, and often as high as 103 to 105 F (39.5 C to 40.5 C) in children. Other symptoms are:
Fever with Chills
Muscular aches and pains, especially in your back, arms and legs
Fatigue and weakness
Loss of appetite
Diarrhea and vomiting in children
Unlike common cold, it is best to consult a medical practitioner at the earliest if any of the flu symptoms are seen.
Influenza symptoms last for longer duration. The patient may experience severe weakness for several months. It can even lead to depression.
Risk and Prevention
You should consult a medical practitioner for Influenza if any of the following symptoms are seen.
1. The fever returns in 3 days or fever does not reduce.
2. Vomiting continues.
3. Difficult breathing.
If you are pregnant or you are an elderly person and/or suffering from diabetes, asthma or any heart problems, then you belong to high risk category. Young children from infants to toddlers are also at higher risk of complications due to Influenza.
Care and Diet:
The patient infected with Flu virus should take following care to minimize impact of Influenza.
Take adequate rest
Stay away from small children
Do some exercise, but don’t over-exert
Take regular but quick bath
Wash your hands regularly.
The following diet plan would help recover faster from Influenza.
Chicken Soup (Broth)
Drink Water in any form
Light meal at regular interval
Avoid fatty and spicy food
Drink hot milk/tea with a touch of turmeric powder
It is important to follow certain steps for maintenance of hygiene during the Flu season. It is of utmost important to wash your hands at regular intervals. Flu virus spreads from common areas to hands and from hands to nose and eyes. Cleaning your hands regularly using alcohol based sanitizers’ helps in keeping the flu virus at bay. Regularly clean surfaces using alcohol based disinfectants. Proper diet and sufficient sleep also helps in keeping your immune system in good shape. A regular exercise also helps improve immune system. Drinking a lot of water, avoiding crowded places also help in prevention of catching the flu virus.
Influenza virus mutates fast into various different forms, due to which there is no medication which can provide long term protection from influenza. However, strong immune system of the body helps in avoiding getting Influenza in spite of being exposed to the virus. Homeopathic remedies help in strengthening your immune system. As a result your body has higher resistance power. Homeopathic treatment is prescribed by a homeopathic physician after studying constitution of the person. The dose and potency of the remedy is prescribed by a homeopathic physician after doing a careful case study. Some of the common remedies for Flu and common cold with following symptoms are:
|Gelsemium||Fever with sever dizziness, dullness, drowsiness and no thirst|
|Allium Cepa||Fever with watery discharge and burning eyes|
|Arsenicum Album||High fever with restlessness and thirst at small intervals|
|Bryonia Alba||High fever with headache and profuse perspiration|