With the onset of the cold season, the number of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVs) and influenza is rising sharply.
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that is prevalent everywhere. Characteristic clinical manifestations of influenza: a sudden acute onset of the disease, accompanied by a sharp increase in body temperature (above 38-40 ˚ C), chills, headache, muscle pain, general weakness, cough. The disease may be easy, but there may be severe forms of flow, up to and including death.
Influenza agents – viruses of types A and B are characterized by aggressiveness, extremely high speed of reproduction. Within hours of infection, the influenza virus leads to deep lesions of the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract, opening up the possibility of penetration of bacteria. This explains the greater number of bacterial complications caused by influenza. Another important feature of influenza viruses is their ability to change: almost every year, new variants of viruses appear, the strains of which are included in the vaccine against seasonal influenza. Therefore, every year the composition of the flu vaccine varies depending on the influenza virus types prevailing in a given epidemic season.
What is the danger of influenza?
Influenza is extremely dangerous with its complications:
- Pulmonary complications (pneumonia, bronchitis). Pneumonia is the cause of most flu deaths.
- Complications from the upper respiratory tract and ENT organs (otitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, tracheitis).
- Complications from the cardiovascular system (myocarditis, pericarditis).
- Complications of the nervous system (meningitis, meningoencephalitis, encephalitis, neuralgia, polyradiculonevrite).
Flu is often accompanied by an exacerbation of existing chronic diseases.
How to protect yourself from influenza?
The main measure of the specific prevention of influenza is vaccination. It is provided by effective influenza vaccines containing the current influenza virus strains recommended by the World Health Organization for the upcoming epidemic. Influenza vaccination is carried out during the pre-epidemic season, usually from September to November.
By giving the flu vaccination you have protected your body from the attack of the most dangerous influenza viruses, but there are still more than 200 types of viruses that are less dangerous to humans, but can also cause acute respiratory infections. Therefore, it is recommended to take non-specific prophylaxis measures, such as, for example, during the epidemic rise of acute respiratory infections and influenza:
- Avoid contact with people who have signs of disease.
- Shorten the time of stay in places of mass congestion and in public transport.
- Wear a medical mask (gauze bandage).
- Regularly after visiting public places wash your hands with soap or wipe them with a special hand treatment, rinse your nose with warm water.
- Wetly clean, ventilate and moisturise the air in the room.
- Live a healthy lifestyle (good sleep, balanced nutrition, physical activity).
In order to increase the body’s resistance to respiratory viruses, including influenza viruses, as a measure of non-specific prophylaxis, are used (on the recommendation of a doctor) various drugs and means to increase immunity.
What should you do if you have influenza?
You should stay at home and see a doctor immediately. Self-treatment for influenza is not allowed! It is the doctor who should diagnose you and prescribe the necessary treatment appropriate to your condition and age. It is necessary to strictly follow all the recommendations of the doctor treating you: take medicines in time and observe bed rest during the illness, because the disease increases the load on the cardiovascular, immune and other systems of the body. Rich drinking is recommended – hot tea, cranberry or lingonberry mors, alkaline mineral waters.
To prevent the spread of infection, the patient should be isolated from healthy persons (preferably a separate room). The room where the patient is located should be regularly ventilated, household items and floors cleaned with disinfectants. If possible, communication with the patient should be limited. When caring for a patient with the flu, you should use a medical mask (gauze bandage).