The flu, also known as influenza, is a sudden, feverish viral disease. It is caused by various viruses and is often confused with a common cold. Because it is far more common in winter, it is also called “seasonal .” you.”This flu course varies greatly and can even be fatal in the case of severe illness.
How is this virus transmitted?
- From person to person
Since it is very contagious it is often spread by droplet infection and not infrequently creates an epidemic. When sneezing, coughing, or speaking, the smallest virus-containing droplets of the nasopharynx of the sick get into the air and are inhaled by other people nearby.
The highly contagious virus can also be passed on through the hands if they come into contact with secretions containing it. The viruses can quickly enter the body via the mucous membranes if the mouth, nose, or eyes are touched.
- Via contaminated objects
The influenza pathogens can also adhere to doorknobs, handles, fences, or similar objects and can be passed on by hand. A smear infection occurs.
How can I protect myself against it?
The best protection against an influenza epidemic is an appropriate influenza vaccination, which should be refreshed annually. Vaccination is best done in October and November. The vaccine is checked annually and, if necessary, adapted to current virus variants. Its vaccination is not mandatory for everyone, but certain groups are particularly at risk.
What are typical symptoms?
The course, duration, and severity of Flu infections can vary significantly from case to case. If there are no complications, the symptoms usually last about 5 to a maximum of 7 days. The course of the disease can range from symptom-free to death.
If the course is severe, pneumonia and brain and heart muscle inflammation can develop. Children can also create complications in the form of middle ear infections.
Typical first symptoms:
- a strong feeling of illness
- sudden high fever
- the fever lasts for several days and dramatically weakens the patient
- Sore throat
- Cold, runny nose
In addition, the virus infection often causes the following symptoms:
- severe headache, muscle, back, and joint pain
- pain behind the breastbone
- shortness of breath
- loss of appetite
- massive exhaustion
What does the typical course look like?
At first, the first signs of this disease are similar to those of a cold. Significant differences only become apparent in the course of the disease and the severity of the disease. The first indicator of the actual condition is the violent and sudden onset. Several symptoms appear simultaneously and intensely, while signs of a cold develop gradually. A typical symptom of influenza quickly occurs: a high fever, which can reach a temperature of 39 to 41 degrees Celsius and lasts for days. The pulse quickens, and there are outbreaks of sweat, increased breathing, shiny eyes, dizziness, sensory disturbances, and confusion. The fever can also trigger cramps. After consultation with the doctor, a possible therapy is a treatment with antipyretic drugs.
Moreover, the weakened immune system of flu patients promotes the development of bacterial infections. This can lead to complications, especially in older people. Inflammation of the nervous system and pneumonia are possible consequences.