Influenza is a viral infection that attacks our respiratory system ie.our nose, throat and lungs.
SYMPTOMS OF INFLUENZA
At first, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. But colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- Aching muscles
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Tiredness and weakness
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Eye pain
- Vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults
CAUSES OF INFLUENZA
Influenza viruses travel through the air in droplets when someone with the infection coughs, sneezes or talks. One can inhale the droplets directly, or one can pick up the germs from an object such as a telephone or computer keyboard and then transfer them to their eyes, nose or mouth.
People with the virus are likely contagious from about a day before symptoms appear until about five days after they start. Children and people with weakened immune systems may be contagious for a slightly longer time.
Influenza viruses are constantly changing, with new strains appearing regularly. If one have had influenza in the past, their body has already made antibodies to fight that specific strain of the virus. If future influenza viruses are similar to those one have encountered before, either by having the disease or by getting vaccinated, those antibodies may prevent infection or lessen its severity. But antibody levels may decline over time.
Also, antibodies against influenza viruses one have encountered in the past may not protect from new influenza strains that can be very different viruses from what one had before.
Factors that may increase our risk of developing the flu or its complications include:
- Age- Seasonal influenza tends to target children 6 months to 5 years old, and adults 65 years old or older.
- Living or working conditions-People who live or work in facilities with many other residents, such as nursing homes or military barracks, are more likely to develop the flu. People who are staying in the hospital are also at higher risk.
- Weakened immune system-Cancer treatments, anti-rejection drugs, long-term use of steroids, organ transplant, blood cancer or HIV/AIDS can weaken your immune system. This can make it easier for you to catch the flu and may also increase your risk of developing complications.
- Chronic illnesses- Chronic conditions, including lung diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, nervous system diseases, metabolic disorders, an airway abnormality, and kidney, liver or blood disease, may increase your risk of influenza complications.
- Race-Native American people may have an increased risk of influenza complications.
- Aspirin use under age 19-People who are younger than 19 years of age and receiving long-term aspirin therapy are at risk of developing Reye's syndrome if infected with influenza.
- Pregnancy- Pregnant women are more likely to develop influenza complications, particularly in the second and third trimesters. Women are more likely to develop influenza-related complications up to two weeks after delivering their babies.
- Obesity-People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more have an increased risk of flu complications.
COMPLICATIONS OF INFLUENZA
- Asthma flare-ups
- Heart problems
- Ear infections
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Pneumonia is one of the most serious complications. For older adults and people with a chronic illness, pneumonia can be deadly.
HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR INFLUENZA
ACONITE : Useful for influenza with sudden onset of fever with chilliness.There is throbbing pulse and great restlessness. Recommended when influenza is caused due to anxiety, suppressed perspiration or exposure to dry, cold winds.
EUPATORIUM PERF : Useful for influenza with intense aching limbs, as if the bones were breaking.Given when patient cannot move for the fear of pain.There is shivering and chill in the back that begins between 7 to 9 am. There may be vomiting of bile like that in the case of break fever dengue.
BRYONIA ALBA : Indicated when the fever sets in on getting suddenly chilled after getting heated.Recommended when patient wants to lie down still and needs to be left alone, the tongue is coated white with thirst for water or cold fluids. Pain are better by pressure but worse on movement.
RHUSTOX : Useful for influenza with bruished, lame and painful limbs on attempting to move but the pain and soreness pass with continuous movement.Given When the patient becomes tired again, the pains reappear.Given when Illness may start with dampness and on getting wet while perspiring.
PYROGENIUM : Useful for agonizing pain in the lower limbs and the lumbar region, especially the thick muscles.Suitet to patient who is extremely chilly, no fire can give enough warmth.Helpful when tongue has a clean varnished look, and the pulse is out of proportion to the fever.
BAPTISIA : Useful for influenza for sudden onset that runs rapidly to a stupid typhoid state. Patient has a besotted appearance, red but dull.There is sudden attack of violent diarrhoea and vomiting associated with great prostration