A – Z of Illnesses & Conditions

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Flu or Influenza

Flu or Influenza:  Flu or Influenza is caused by three types of flu viruses which are A, B and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that cause sniffling, aching, coughing and high fever. Swine flu is a type A influenza. Type C also causes flu but its symptoms are less severe. Flu affects the respiratory system: the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs.

Symptoms of flu are similar to those of a common cold but a lot more severe. They include headache, body aches, coughing, chest discomfort, sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, high fever, fatigue and weakness.

Sore throats associated with cold and flu can be relieved by gargling. Gargle with warm salt water, turmeric or apple cider vinegar. Antibiotics are of no use in the treatment of flu because it is caused by a virus and not by bacteria.

Preventing the spread of Flu: The flu virus is spread in small droplets of fluid coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. These droplets can travel a metre or so and infect anyone within range who breathes them in. Flu can also spread if someone with the virus transfers it on their fingers. For example, if you have flu and you touch your nose or eyes and then touch someone else, you may pass the virus on to them.

Flu vaccination by injection, commonly known as the "flu jab" is available FREE every year on the NHS to protect adults (and some children) at risk of flu and its complications. 

Children: In the autumn/winter of 2014/2015 the annual nasal spray flu vaccine will be available for all children aged two, three and four years old as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.

You should see your doctor if you have flu-like symptons and you are:
- aged over 65 or over
- are pregnant
- have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease or a neurological disease
- have a weakened immune system.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal remedies


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