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Influenza

Young woman blowing her nose with a tissue at home
Have you ever experienced a fever with chills, body aches, coughing, sneezing, or sore throat? If so, you may be experiencing the primary symptoms of influenza. Influenza is a common illness that primarily affects people in the colder months of the year.

What is influenza?

Influenza which is usually called ”the flu” is primarily an infection of the upper respiratory system. The infection is caused by a virus. Influenza is a contagious disease, which means that if you sneeze, cough, or talk and the droplets land on a healthy person, there is a chance that person will get influenza as well.

The flu takes between one to four days to produce its first sign or symptom. However, an infected person can be contagious even before the appearance of the first symptoms.

Causes

Influenza is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract and is caused by the family of influenza viruses. There are at least four types of these viruses: A, B, C, and D.

Type C and D flu viruses are not a common causative agent for influenza in humans. Instead, these versions primarily affect ducks, turkeys, and chickens and cows.

Type B virus mainly attacks humans and usually results in milder influenza symptoms.

The main influenza virus of concern is the type A influenza virus which is responsible for 95% of cases. This strain may produce more severe symptoms.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of influenza include:

  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever and chills
  • Body aches
  • Chest congestion

Treatment options

If you experience mild symptoms of influenza, then nothing more is required than plenty of fluids and rest.

However, in case of severe infection like chest congestion, persistent cough, high fever, and chills, a medical provider’s assistance may be required. A provider can prescribe several medications, including antivirals.

Commonly prescribed antivirals for influenza include:

  • Oseltamivir
  • Peramivir
  • Zanamivir

These medications are prescribed to prevent the severity of complications and to shorten the span of flu illness. Side effects may include nausea or vomiting. These antivirals are most effective when given in the first 48 hours after symptom onset.

Antivirals may also be given to prevent complications like pneumonia or other symptoms so severe that they could require a hospital stay. The CDC suggests prompt treatment for people who have influenza infection or suspected influenza infection and who are at a higher risk of developing serious flu complications.

Contact us

In case of urgent medical care assistance, AfterOurs Urgent Care offers immediate telemedicine services, where medical providers are available to offer assistance. Anyone who experiences signs and symptoms requiring urgent medical attention can simply book their appointment with AfterOurs Urgent Care to directly talk to an expert. If your medical issue is not appropriate for telemedicine, we will let you know and refer you to an in-person facility.

When to visit a doctor:

If you notice symptoms of the flu including fever, chills or body aches, you may see a medical practitioner to rule out serious infection. This will help guide treatment and reduce the spread of the disease.

Treatment for influenza is available at AfterOurs Urgent Care.