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Seasonal Influenza
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Seasonal Influenza

Coughing, sneezing and wheezing, are the sounds that you get to hear the most during the winter season. This is predominantly owing to the fact that respiratory infections are on the rise during winter. This is primarily caused by the influenza virus that is found all across the globe. The infection that lasts for about 3 to 7 days can give rise to many irritable symptoms that leave you completely drained of energy and may take weeks to recover completely. Seasonal influenza is marked by the acute onset of symptoms that aggravate within hours. You may initially experience slight irritation in the throat and watery eyes and within no time you’ll be coughing, sneezing and shivering with fever and body ache.

Seasonal influenza can affect anyone and everyone, irrespective of age. It is due to this very reason that people of all age groups are required to follow some simple guidelines, so as to bring down their risks of developing seasonal flu. We have listed some of these in this blog. However, before starting, let us first try to understand a few more things

Who is at risk of developing seasonal influenza?

As mentioned already, anyone can develop seasonal influenza, but, indeed, some people tend to be more vulnerable. These include:

  • Infants and toddlers who have not crossed 2 years of age
  • Elderly people who have reached 65 years of age
  • People who have been living in nursing homes or long-term care facilities
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a compromised immune system
  • People with pre-existing chronic illnesses like diabetes, asthma and heart disease
  • People who are obese, with a BMI greater than or equal to 40

If you can relate to any of these risk factors, it is important to be careful and seek immediate medical help if you start experiencing any of the related symptoms.

What are the symptoms of seasonal flu?

The symptoms of seasonal flu are very much similar to those of the common cold, only more severe and abrupt. Common symptoms that you need to watch out for include:

  • Fevers and chills
  • Muscle aches and body pain
  • Persistent headache
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Breathlessness
  • Soreness in the throat
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Persistent cough, especially dry

Luckily, you can ward off the risks of seasonal flu to some extent, by following these simple guidelines:

  • Wash your hands more often. It is very important to keep your hands clean and wash them thoroughly before meals or after touching a suspected surface. Carry a hand sanitiser with you while going out in public places.
  • Do not touch your face unnecessarily. This is something that mostly children do, but you may have seen some adults doing it as well. On average, a child touched his/her face about 16 times in an hour. If you are doing it too, stop. Keep your hands away from your face and mouth.
  • Don't skip your flu shot - Getting a flu shot is the best thing that you can do to lower your risks of developing seasonal flu. This is not only for children but for adults as well. Whether you feel the need for it or not, getting a shot will always prove to be helpful for you.
  • Sanitize the surfaces that you come in contact with - This refers to the common surfaces that everyone touches at home, such as door knobs, handles, remotes, etc. Make it a point to do it, especially if you have an infected person at home.
  • Prioritise your sleep and make sure that you are resting for enough hours. This will help to boost your immunity and make it easier to fight infections
  • Do not ignore nutrition - A healthy diet is important to keep off your risks of seasonal flu so it is important to choose your meals wisely. Avoid ordering food from outside and rather stick to healthy, home-cooked meals.

It is important to recognize worsening of warning symptoms such as breathlessness etc. There is possibility of pneumonia and sepsis in high risk groups if the condition is not treated on time.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, consult a doctor and get yourself evaluated.

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