Flu in adults: symptoms, causes and treatment

Olga Berezhko

General practitioner

Olga Berezhko

Experience 36 year

There are chills in the body, headaches and body muscle aches - the symptoms are sudden, reminiscent of flu and SARS at the same time, but they are different illnesses. The pathogen type is a distinctive feature. Flue is an acute infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract with a viral origin. SARS can be caused by different combinations of viruses, of which there are about 200, as well as by bacteria. Proper diagnostic and correct diagnosis determines the choice of treatment and reduces the risk of complications. The flu vaccine plays a big role in this, helping to build the body's protective system.

Symptoms and signs of flu

The onset of the disease is always acute due to viruses and intoxication. Flu symptoms appear within a few hours. They are:

  • headache;
  • redness, sore throat;
  • chills and fever;
  • aching pain in muscles and joints;
  • stuffy nose or runny nose;
  • sore eyes;
  • severe weakness, etc.

Causes of appearance and development

The disease is caused by seasonal viruses (autumn and winter). There are three different types of flu: A, B and C. The milder forms of the disease are caused by type C. From year to year, types A and B become the cause of exceeding the epidemic threshold. The focus of the disease is the infected person. The virus molecules have a resistance to survival. The room, where the sick person was, can remain potentially dangerous to healthy people for up to 9 hours. Plastic surfaces retain pathogen molecule activity for up to 2 days, so it is important to prevent flu and SARS in rooms (wet cleaning, disinfection).

General infection ways

Flu is transmitted by airborne droplets. An invisible drop (0.0001 ml) of nasopharyngeal secretion is enough to get infected. The virus is also transmitted by the household. If there is a person who is ill in the home, he/she should have personal hygiene items, utensils and bed linen. It is also possible to get infected by contact. For example, a person sneezes while covering his/her mouth with his/her hand. Hands are rarely washed afterwards. By touching various objects, a person expands the area of potential infection. Crowds of people and enclosed types of rooms are places where the flu spreads lightning fast.

Possible risk factors

Speaking of the flu in adults and children, there are several risk factors for developing complications:

  • children under 6 years of age and adults over 60 years of age;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • chronic renal insufficiency;
  • respiratory disease;
  • pregnancy;
  • reduced immunity due to cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS;
  • neurological disorders;
  • metabolic disorders.

Complications after flu

Flu symptoms and treatment also have a risk of developing complications. This is influenced by health factors. Complications can be the following:

  • pneumonia and bronchitis;
  • otitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, tracheitis;
  • pericarditis, myocarditis;
  • encephalitis, polyradiculoneuritis, neuralgia, meningitis, meningoencephalitis;
  • exacerbation of chronic diseases.

When should you see a doctor?

Flu symptoms can occur within 2 hours to 2 days. You should see a doctor immediately or call an ambulance if your condition worsens:

  • difficulty breathing;
  • repeated vomiting and defecation;
  • impaired consciousness and low blood pressure;
  • prolonged fever of 38-39°C;
  • blood in the sputum while coughing up;
  • pain in the chest.

An infectious disease specialist diagnoses and treats infectious diseases.

You can get a consultation and treatment against flu in the centre of Moscow at JSC "Medicina" (Academician Roytberg Clinic). The effectiveness of your treatment depends on identifying the strain of the virus, so taking tests will help to correctly diagnose and select medications.

Preparation for a doctor's appointment

No special preparation is needed to visit an infectious disease specialist. During the appointment, the doctor will take your medical history, ask about vaccinations, carry out an examination and prescribe tests. If you are already taking any flu medicine, tell your doctor about it. For the future, you can ask which flu vaccinations are effective in avoiding a recurrence of the disease.

Virus diagnosis and treatment

Flu is diagnosed by clinical symptoms. If identification of the etiologic factor is required, express tests for detection of viral antigen, tests of samples from the throat, nose, RT-PCR method are used. They are not mandatory for everyone, but they are necessary for patients who are at risk of developing complications. At JSC "Medicina" (Academician Roytberg Clinic) near "Mayakovskaya" metro station, modern technology and its own clinical diagnostic laboratory can accurately diagnose, prescribe therapy or, if necessary, hospitalise.

If the person is not in a high-risk group, the flu is treated symptomatically. The patient is prescribed bed rest, plenty of fluids, antipyretic drugs, cough medicine, isotonic nasal lavage water and vasoconstrictor drops. All cold and flu medications should be prescribed by a doctor. For severe conditions and complications, treatment is carried out in a hospital.

Home remedies

At home, you need to follow a diet. Your diet should include not only fruits and vegetables, but also juices, still mineral water, herbal teas (mint, chamomile, raspberry). You can eat fish, low-fat meat, dairy products and eggs. You should avoid heavy fatty and fried foods, alcohol, cocoa and fresh pastries.

Popular remedies include an inhaler. Put flu and cold pills aside, try breathing with sage, eucalyptus or oak bark. Don't forget the phytoncides contained in onions and garlic. Eat them fresh. Therapy at home should include tea with ginger and milk with honey. Remember also to ventilate your room constantly.

Myths and dangerous treatment misconceptions

The question of whether to get a flu vaccination in the midst of a mass illness has a clear answer: no. A person may already have the virus during an epidemic. This will create a double infection load for the body. The flu vaccine should be administered earlier. Be careful with aspirin. It is an excellent antipyretic, but not for the flu. It makes the blood thinner and increases the penetration of viruses into blood vessels and cells, making the condition worse. Hot foot baths are also well-known. They help relieve swelling of the upper respiratory tract mucosa - it's true. They can only be done when there is no fever. Otherwise, the load on the heart is multiplied. Hot inhalation over boiled potatoes is a traditional method, but it is dangerous, as it can also cause mucosal steam burns.

Prophylaxis and vaccination method

Flu vaccination is an effective preventative measure against this disease. It is recommended to get the vaccination in September or October. The WHO recommends it every year to people at risk and workers of certain professions. These categories include pregnant women, children between 6 months and 5 years old, elderly and chronically ill people, healthcare workers, teachers, educators, shop assistants and others. The flu vaccination allows you to develop antibodies in your blood within 7 to 14 days. Your immune system will resist the attack of viruses for about 6 months. Keep sanitary rules, wash your hands often, avoid people with colds and go out in public less frequently - this is the best flu prevention for everyone.

How to make an appointment to see an infectious disease specialist?

In order to make an appointment to see an infectious disease specialist at JSC "Medicina" (Academician Roytberg Clinic), you should call +7 (495) 126-22-97. You can also fill in a feedback form on the website. Address of our clinic is: Moscow, 2nd Tverskoy-Yamskoy Lane, 10. The nearest metro station is "Mayakovskaya''. Our convenient location in the central district of Moscow allows you to quickly commute from anywhere in the city. Several metro stations are within walking distance: "Belorusskaya", "Tverskaya'', "Novoslobodskaya" and "Chekhovskaya".

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