Diseases & Conditions


FluCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by RNA viruses and affects the respiration system of most mammals, birds and human beings. The infection causes fever, cough, headache, nausea and tiredness. In most cases, vomiting and diarrhea accompanies the illness.

Causes of Flu

The commonest types of viruses that cause the flu are the influenza viruses. They are divided into three types and designated the codes A, B and C. While types A and B are responsible for most epidemics of illness around the world, C usually causes a very mild illness with no big symptoms. It is a scientific fact that types A and B are responsible for most hospitalization and deaths in the world. Influenza viruses have the ability to mutate with time. This helps the virus beat the immune system of human beings.

Medication for Flu

Since flu is one of the most common diseases for the human race, there are a few effective and time proven drugs which are designed to reduce the burden of pain. Some good drugs are Vicks Nyquil, Theraflu and Oscillo. Action 500 and nose block ointments are effective to cure body aches and running noses. Flu medication contains pain killers that induce drowsiness in the body. Therefore, care should be taken to take the correct amount or dosage.

Prevention of Flu

The important fact about flu remains that it is a communicable disease. Absolute isolation is essential to keep the patient from giving the illness to others. Anti-viral vaccines have to be administered to the people around the patient to ensure that it does not spread. If the patient’s household contains young children and people above the age of 55, care should be taken to prevent the disease from spreading to them by quarantining the patient from them. People with immune-deficiency syndrome and diabetes and asthma have to be vaccine-administered. Further, good healthy habits like washing your hands with soap and water frequently and covering your coughs and sneezes can help reduce the infection.

Risk factors of Flu

Every disease has a specific population set for which the set risk factors are high.

  • People above the age of 50 are more likely to get flu
  • People with long term heart and lung problems
  • Nursing home residents with long term health problems in general
  • Kidney disease and diabetes patients
  • Children between 6 months and 18 years
  • Pregnant women in their last trimester

Symptoms of Flu

While different types of influenza have varied symptoms, the most common symptoms of the illness are listed below:

  • Fever and shivering with body temperature
  • Cough and phlegm formation
  • Breathing difficulty due to nasal congestion
  • Body aches with joint pains
  • Sore throats
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Headache and Nausea
  • Irritated and watering eyes
  • Reddened facial features
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain

The difference between the common cold and influenza in the early stages is the fact that the flu is accompanied by a high temperature fever and tiredness.

Treatment for Flu

It is better to take the illness through its full course in bed without any physical activity. Since the disease causes extreme tiredness and fatigue, it is best to avoid alcohol and tobacco which dehydrate the body. Plenty of fluid intake is advised by the doctor; water, fruit juices and clear soups are best for the body. Gatorade and other electrolytes are important to regain health by adding minerals and vitamins to the body. Rehydrating solutions do the body good. Extreme spices and sweets are not to be consumed in case of flu.

Types of Flu

There have always been debates about what constitutes flu and how many different types of influenza are there. From different sources, this is the list of the different types of flu obtained.

  • Influenza Types A, B and C – A is the most common form of the flu
  • Hong Kong flu
  • Spanish flu
  • Asian flu
  • Swine flu
  • Avian flu
  • Orthomyxovirus-related cold
  • Type A influenza Types H1N1 to H10N7
  • Hemophilus influenza B
  • Intestinal flu
  • H1N1 flu