The Common Flu: Everything You Need to Know

These days, a simple fever and cold can already send you into a frenzy because of fear that you might have COVID-19. But the common flu is caused by the influenza virus, while COVID-19 is caused by a new strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. So, how can you tell if you’ve been hit by the seasonal flu? Here’s everything you need to know:

 

The signs and symptoms

  • Fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celsius
  • Feeling feverish or chills
  • Severe pain in the joints and muscles
  • A feeling of weakness or severe fatigue
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Sore throat and runny nose
  • Dry cough
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (common in children)

 

The risk factors

Although most people only experience mild to moderate symptoms of flu, other people are at a higher risk for developing it or suffering from more serious complications.

  • Age. Children 6 months to 5 years old and adults 65 years and older are more likely to contract the flu than other age groups.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Patients with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, metabolic disorders, kidney disease, and nervous system disease, are at a higher risk of suffering from the complications of flu.
  • Living or working conditions. People who work in highly populated areas like hospitals, nursing homes and military facilities are at a higher risk for contracting the flu from other people in the area. This is also the same for people living in highly congested areas.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight, especially those with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more are at a higher risk for developing flu complications than those within their ideal body weight.
  • Immunodeficiency. People undergoing cancer treatments, long-term use of steroids and anti-rejection drugs are at a higher risk for developing the flu as well as those who have undergone an organ transplant. 
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women in their second and third trimester are more likely to suffer from the complications of flu for up to two weeks after delivery.

 

The complications of cold and flu

  • Bronchitis
  • Heart problems
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus infection
  • Encephalitis
  • Asthma flare-ups

 

The treatment for cold and flu

Since you or any member of the family can contract the flu, especially during flu season, it’s best to stock up on common treatments and remedies at home, including cold and flu tablets that will surely come in handy any time. You should also practice washing your hands regularly and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent spreading the virus. Most importantly, it would benefit you and your family to get vaccinated from the flu, so you are protected whenever it is flu season and so you don’t need to worry about suffering from the serious complications of this viral infection. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping yourself healthy and practising proper habits at home and in the workplace to make sure that you don’t contract or spread the influenza virus.

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