Common health issue

What is Influenza (Flu)? Symptoms, Causes, Complications, Diagnosis

What is Influenza (Flu)?

Influenza is a viral infection that strikes your respiratory system like your nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza is familiarly known as the flu. But it’s not similar to stomach “flu” viruses that create diarrhea and vomiting.

For severe people, the flu settles on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its risks can be deadly. People at greater risk of building flu complications may include:-

  • Young children under age 5 years, and normally those under 6 months
  • Adult older than age 65 years
  • Residents of nursing homes and other permanent treatment facilities
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after handing birth
  • People with a poor immune system
  • People who have chronic issues, like asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes
  • Who are greatly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater

Symptoms of Influenza

At initial, the flu may look such as a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat. But common clods normally build slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on recently. And although a common cold can be a bother, you normally experience severe worse with the flu.

However, some familiar signs and symptoms of influenza (flu) may include:-

  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness and weakness
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Eye pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, but this is severe familiar in children than adults

Causes of Influenza

Influenza (flu) viruses move through the air in droplets when someone with the issue coughs, sneezes, or speaks. You can ingest the droplets directly, or you can take up the germs from an object like a telephone or computer keyboard and then transmitted them to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

People with the virus are likely infectious from about a day before signs look until about five days after they begin. Those children and people with poor immune systems may be infectious for a slightly longer period.

Influenza (flu) viruses are continually changing, with new strains seeking regularly. However, if you have had influenza the previous time, your body has already built antibodies to strike that specific strain of the virus. If future influenza viruses are alike to those you have faced before, either by having the issue or by obtaining vaccinated, those antibodies may stop infection or lessen its severity.

Also, an antibody against influenza (flu) viruses you have faced in the previous period may not save you from new influenza strains that can be various viruses from what you had before.


However, if you are young and healthy, influenza (flu) normally is not sensible. Although you may experience misery while you have it, the flu normally moves away in a week or two with no lasting effects. But children and adults at greater risk may build complications that may include:-

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Heart issues
  • Ear infections

However, pneumonia is one of the severe sensible complications. For older adults and people with chronic issues, pneumonia can be fatal.


Your health consultant will conduct a physical test, seek for signs and symptoms of influenza and viably order an exam that determines influenza viruses.

During times when influenza is wide increase, you may not require to be examined for influenza. Your health consultant may diagnose you depend on your signs and symptoms.

In some cases, your health consultant may recommend that you be examined for influenza. He or she uses different exams to diagnose influenza. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) examing is becoming severe familiar in severe hospitals and labs. However, this exam may be done while you are in your consultant’s office or the hospital. PCR examing is severe sensitive than other exams and may be able to recognize the influenza strain.


Normally, you will require nothing severe than rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu. But if you have many infections or are at greater risk for complications, your consultant may suggest an antiviral drug to cure the flu. However, these drugs may incorporate oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), peramivir (Rapivab), or Baloxavir (Xofluza). These drugs may manage illness by a day or so and support stop sensible complications.

Oseltamivir is an oral treatment medication. Zanamivir is ingested through a device, like an asthma inhaler, and should not be taken by anyone with certain chronic respiratory issues, like asthma and lung disease.

Antiviral medication side effects may involve nausea and vomiting. However, these side effects may be minimized if the drug is used with food.

Severe circulating strains of influenza have suit resistance to amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine), which are previous antiviral drugs that are no longer suggested.