What Is Flu?
Influenza is called as Flu. Flu is an infectious respiratory disease caused by the attack of the virus. The virus is present in the air and enters our body through nose and mouth. It spreads through coughs and sneezes. It can also spread through touching of surfaces infected by the virus and then touching your nose or mouth with those contaminated hands.
Flu can affect animals also including birds, pigs, and horses.
What Are The Symptoms Of Flu?
Symptoms of the flu start after one or two days of infection. Following are the symptoms of the flu:
- Chills are the first symptoms of flu
- Fever is also common in flu
- A runny nose, sneezing
- Fatigue, headache
- A sore throat, shortness of breath
- Irritation of the eyes or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion, cough
- Muscle aches, earache
- Vomiting and diarrhea are mostly seen in children.
What Are The Causes Of Flu?
Flu is a highly infectious contagious disease caused by the virus. There are 3 types of viruses which causes flu.
There are 3 types of Influenza virus affecting the people. These are:
- TYPE A: This is Influenza A virus for which wild aquatic birds are the natural hosts. Type A virus is more common among humans as compared to other 2 types and causes severe disease.
This type can be divided into different serotypes. This includes H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, H5N1, H7N7, H1N2, H9N2, H7N2, H7N3, H10N7, and H7N9. This causes annual outbreaks.
- TYPE B: This is influenza B virus and affects humans less commonly then Type A. This causes outbreaks every 3 to five years and in winter season commonly.
- TYPE C: This is influenza C virus and affects humans less commonly than other 2 other types. This shows milder symptoms that too in children.
Flu can spread in three ways:
- Direct contact where infected person sneezes out directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person.
- An airborne route in which aerosols produced by the infected person by coughing or sneezing in the air are inhaled by another person.
- Hand to other body parts such hand to eye, hand to nose, hand to ear, hand to mouth etc. This can also spread by direct handshake also.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Flu?
- Adopt good hygiene habits: Frequent washing of hands, not touching your eyes, nose or your mouth with hands are some of the good habits which one should adopt to minimize the risk of infection.
- Covering your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing will prevent the infection from spreading into the air.
- Use of face masks will help in preventing the transmission of infections.
- Maintain distance from the infected person as flu is contagious.
- Staying hydrated is recommended for sick patients.
- Plenty of rest should be taken by sick patients
- Get vaccination for influenza to increase the immunity.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Flu?
Don’t do following things if you are suffering from flu -
- Don’t spit in public places as this can spread the infection
- Don’t share anything with the infected person as you may also get infected.
- Don’t consume alcohol as it can cause dehydration.
- Don’t go outside during peak days of flu as the risk of spreading of infection is high.
- Don’t take bath with cold water to reduce the fever as it can worsen the condition.
- Don’t go for self-medication. Consult your doctor first.
What Are The Best Foods For Flu?
- Protein-rich diet: These helps to fight the infection and boost the immunity. Such as beans, peas, eggs, salmon. These contain digestible proteins and omega -3 fatty acids also.
- Green Tea: Green tea is full of antioxidants which help in opening the blocked airways. It will also help you to stay hydrated.
- Chicken soup: This soup provides essential vitamins and minerals to the body. This also helps to maintain the electrolyte balance of the body.
- Green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, sprouts are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These protect the cell from infection and boost the immunity as well. Green leafy vegetables are full of nutrients and their antibacterial action helps to fight the infection.
- Fortified grains: These provide vitamin b12 to the body and boost the energy levels. For example bread, cereals etc.
- Liquid diet: Staying hydrated is the best treatment for flu. Drink fruit juice, ginger tea, lemon tea, lemon tea etc as these will help in lubrication of the throat. The hot drinks will provide relief to the congestion.
- Colorful fruits: Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, avocados, berries, and banana are the rich sources of nutrients. These help to combat the loss of calories during flu.
What Are The Worst Foods For Flu?
- Sugary foods: Foods rich in sugar should be avoided as these increase the congestion and make the environment conducive for the virus to grow. Sugary foods prevent the body from fighting the infection.
- Fatty, fries and fast foods: These foods are rich in carbohydrates, salt, and spices which prolong the disease by irritating the throat.
- Dairy products: Milk and its products should be avoided as it can increase the mucus in lungs and sinuses. These can worsen the symptoms by creating the favorable conditions for the virus to live and stay longer.
- Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol increases the inflammation and delays the recovery process. Alcohol also causes dehydration of the body.
What Are The Medicines For Flu?
What Are The Tips To Manage Flu?
The best way to treat flu is to take plenty of fluids and lot of rest. One can try some home remedies also to prevent or manage flu.
- Home remedies are very cost effective and safe. Below are some home remedies to treat flu:
- Ginger: Ginger is the best remedy for flu. Boil some ginger in water or drink ginger tea. This will soothe your throat and helps relieve the congestion.
- Honey: The antimicrobial and antibacterial action of honey helps to fight the infection and relieve a cough.
- Garlic: The presence of allicin in garlic acts as an antimicrobial agent which helps to fight the symptoms of flu.
- Steam: Taking steam is the good option to cure flu. This helps to relieve the congestion. Taking steam for about 15 minutes will help in soothing the throat and sinuses.
- Lemon: It has wide varieties of properties such anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral which works to fight the virus and flu symptoms. Lemon tea, honey and lemon tea, lemon juice can be consumed during flu.
- Exercise and yoga: Doing exercise and practicing yoga when you are not infected with flu will boost your immunity and will prevent the further attack of the virus.