A flu, which is short for Influenza, is a respiratory disease caused by a viral infection. The “flu” is commonly brought by Influenza virus and is not to be confused with the stomach “flu” that usually results to diarrhea and vomiting (http://www.mayoclinic.com). Truly, a full-blown flu is threatening and can sometimes be deadly. The flu that is familiar with people, however, is associated with mostly manageable and self-limiting symptoms, at times termed as “common flu”, if they are handled properly.
The flu is a very contagious viral infection which can infect other people from a day before the symptoms develop up until 5 to 7 days after the disease is contracted (http://www.cdc.gov). Like any usual viral infection, flu virus is acquired through droplet transmission when people sneeze and cough, which are the typical symptoms of flu. It can also be transmitted when the person becomes in contact with objects that have been exposed to the virus such as table surfaces or posts.
After affirming that the disease is in fact the beloved flu, the next step would be to treat and/or manage the symptoms. Because flu is of viral cause and is self-limiting or bound to end, management is usually done through treatment of the underlying symptoms. For instance, a person may take analgesics every 6-8 hours for the fever, cough & cold medications for the cough & colds, and pain medications for severe muscle pain. However, do hold your fire when taking conventional medicines as non-pharmacological treatment may do the trick just fine. People who have flu must ensure proper bed rest and intake of fluids so as to keep from dehydration.
Make certain that management being done is efficient by monitoring signs and symptoms. Since most of them are visible such as sneezing for colds and phlegm for cough, it would be fairly easy to achieve. Fever can be monitored by checking temperatures every now and then. A good rule of thumb is that fever which rises and falls alternately means that analgesics are no good for management. Also, usually when fever is present for 1-2 weeks, it would be best to get professional advice. As they say, if symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
Usually, common flu is nothing to worry about if a person knows what he/she needs to do, hence the don’t-panic advice. However, flu illnesses can be well avoided through correct personal hygiene and hand washing and taking annual flu vaccinations. While self-limiting diseases can be gone in a few days, it is always more practical and less expensive to employ prevention than cure.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic, 20 Aug. 2011. Web. 24 November 2012.
CDC National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Seasonal Influenza (flu). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 June 2011. Web. 24 November 2012.