FLU SYNDROME OR INFLUENZA
Flu Syndrome manifests itself by an abrupt onset of malaise, myalgia or muscle
ache, headache, fever, sore throat. The
illness is severe for 3 to 14 days, and the convalescence lasts from 1 to 4
is transmitted by virus-containing small particle aerosols that is spread by
sneezing, coughing and talking. The
incubation period last from 18 to
72 hours. Viral shedding persists
for 5 to 10 days. In a community,
person-to-person transmission is rapid, spreading
initially among children and then to adults.
spread of the Influenza virus is due to the appearance of new antigen
variations of the virus in non-immune populations.
Antigen variations occur almost annually in Influenza serotype A, whereas
variation occurs much less frequently in Influenza B.
Major variation is called antigenic shift and results in pandemic spread
of a new strain, almost always type A, throughout regions of the world where
there is little natural immunity. In
recent years, epidemic Influenza has occurred regularly and has influenced death
rates. Although it is often not possible clinically to separate
infections due to type A or B, Influenza A is responsible for greater morbidity
and mortality than type B.
A or B Influenza, when uncomplicated makes you feel uncomfortable for a few
days. It comes with fever, chills,
headaches, severe body ache and backache. The
fever may be as high as 106°F
in some cases, typically lasting 3 days, and may persist for 5 to 7 days.
Respiratory symptoms such as cough, nasal discharge, hoarseness and sore
throat appear as systemic symptoms wane - cough and weakness usually subside
after two weeks, but may persist for a longer time.
the Flu and cold may have similar symptoms, there are some very clear
differences between the two illnesses.
Typical Symptoms of a Cold
and sore throat;
runny nose and mild cough; and
or slightly elevated temperatures.
above symptoms last from a few days to a week.
Typical Symptoms of the Flu
onset, headache, dry cough, and chest discomfort;
muscle aches, including back and legs;
and extreme exhaustion; and
that lasts from 1 to 4 weeks.
Treatment of the Flu Syndrome
measures are important for symptomatic relief.
Bed rest and adequate Fluid intake are advised.
Aspirin, 600 to 900 mg. Every 4 hours, or acetaminophen, if aspirin is
contraindicated reduces headache, fever and body ache.
Sponging with water is effective in lowering high fever. Relief of nasal discharge may be obtained by agents such as
topical decongestants. Relief from
cough with cold suppressants, such as Dextrometorphan is helpful.
Antibiotics will not help cure a cold or Flu, except in cases of
secondary bacterial infections, since antibiotics do not kill viruses.
oral decongestants phenylpropanolamine and pseudoephenedrine are somewhat helpful.
When prescribed in the recommended doses, these drugs will not cause
blood pressure increase in treated hypertensive patients.
physician may prescribe certain medicines if you see him or her within 24 to 48
hours of onset of the Flu syndrome. Those
medicines are: Amantadine or
rimantadine and a new medicine called Tami Flu.
Treating with these medicines should be seriously considered for patients
at high risk of morbidity and mortality who develop Influenza.
High Risk Group Include:
Unvaccinated children and adults with chronic diseases, including
pulmunonary, cardiovascular, metabolic, neuromuscular or immuno-deficiency
Adults whose activities are vital to community function in which
absenteeism may be highly detrimental, such as selected hospital personnel,
firemen and policemen; and
Patients with life-threatening primary Influenza pneumonia.
Most Feared Complications of Influenza:
should be advised that dyspnea hemoptysis
or spitting up blood, wheezing, purulent sputum, fever persisting more than 7
days, severe muscle pain, herald complications that demand prompt medical
attention and usually hospitalization. The
worse complications are Influenza pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia and
Prevention of Influenza or Flu:
to the Center for Disease control and Prevention, the following group of people
should take extra precautions and should receive the Flu Vaccine starting in
October of each year:
over the age of 65;
and children with Diabetes;
with chronic heart and lung diseases;
with kidney disease, severe anemia or asthma;
of Nursing Homes and other
receiving long-term aspirin therapy who may be at risk of developing Reye's
following the Flu;
care workers, especially those with extensive patients contacts;
who provide assistance to high-risk patients.
may also be given to anyone who asks for the Flu Vaccine.
is important to know that trivial intercurrent illness, such as mild upper
respiratory tract infection, should not be viewed as contraindications to timely
Influenza immunization of individuals in high-risk groups.
immunization with the contemporary vaccine begins in October, before the
Influenza season and may continue until December or January.
The vaccine recommended each year is polyvalent, containing antigens from
type A and B strains that are expected to prevail during that season.
vaccination consists in a single intramuscular injection of 0.5 ml of Influenza
Vaccine usually inside the deltoid muscle localized in the upper arm.
Contraindication to the vaccine is anaphylactic hypersensitivity to eggs. Your doctor or caregiver will always ask you about eggs allergy before injecting the vaccine.
Common adverse reactions of the vaccine are mild fever and local tenderness. Otherwise, it is usually well tolerated.
Joseph J. Nicolas, M.D.
104-105 Springfield Blvd.
Queens Village, NY 11429
Tel. (718) 776-6050
Fax (718) 776-6051
1) Harrison Principles of Internal Medicine and 2) Ambulatory
above is provided solely for informational
purposes. It is in no way to be
construed as a substitute for professional medical care.
tune for more!