Influenza

The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract. Although the symptoms can be similar, flu is much worse.

Influenza is a highly contagious airborne disease that occurs in seasonal epidemics and manifests as an acute febrile illness with variable degrees of systemic symptoms, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death.

 

What is Influenza?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.

 

Symptoms

Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Diagnosis

The most common is Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDTs). RIDTs work by detecting the parts of the virus (antigens) that stimulate an immune response. It can provide results within approximately 10-15 minutes, but are not as accurate as other flu tests. Therefore, you could still have the flu, even though your rapid test result is negative.

 

Other flu tests Is Rapid Molecular Assaysthat detect genetic material of the virus. Rapid molecular assays produce results in 15-20 minutes and are more accurate than RIDTs. In addition, there are several more-accurate and sensitive flu tests available that must be performed in specialized laboratories, such as those found in hospitals or state public health laboratories. All of these tests require that a health care provider swipe the inside of your nose or the back of your throat with a swab and then send the swab for testing. Results may take one hour or several hours

 

Treatment

If you get flu, antiviral drugs may be a treatment option. When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They can also  prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia

It is very important that flu antiviral drugs are started as soon as possible to treat

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