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Influenza

Updated on November 7, 2008

Influenza

Causes, Signs, Symptoms

This is a virus infection of the nose, throat, and passageways caused by a spe­cific family of viruses which have the capacity of under­going change, so that immu­nity gained from exposure with one strain offers only partial protection against a new variety. It is commonly referred to as flu. Symptoms include fever; chills; flushing of the face, neck, and chest; headache; redness of the eyes; dizziness; sore throat; cough; and pains in the back, arms, and legs. In children, diar­rhea and vomiting may be present. A sense of exhaus­tion is common. Mild uncomplicated cases are usually over within 3 to 4 days but symptoms may last for a week. Fever goes down but can recur. Complications both from Influenza virus and secondary bacterial Invaders Include pneumonia, ear In­fections, and sinusitis. Intes­tinal flu Is an Illness of di­arrhea, vomiting, fever, and headache.

Treatment

1. There is no treatment for the viral infection itself. Antibiotics have no effect. Aspirin and fluids are recom­mended. Specific treat­ment is directed toward complications. Influ­enza is a highly conta­gious disease which oc­curs during epidemics. Symptoms usually be­gin from 34 to 36 hours after exposure.

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