What is the Influenza Virus?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus caused by the influenza virus (commonly known as “flu”). It affects humans and animals and can cause mild to severe illness, ranging from mild fever and common cold symptoms to more severe conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Symptoms can include fever, body aches, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, and in severe cases, hospitalization or death. Fortunately, there are vaccines available to prevent or reduce the risk of contracting influenza.
How Can I Prevent Infection with The Influenza Virus?
The best way to prevent infection with the influenza virus is to get vaccinated each year. Vaccines are available for children, adults, and seniors. To reduce your risk of infection, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, practice social distancing, and wear a face covering in public settings.
Treatment of the Disease
If you do become infected with the virus, antiviral medications can help to reduce the severity and duration of the illness. These medications are highly effective when used early in the course of the illness. Treatment may also involve rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and managing pain and fever with over-the-counter remedies. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for breathing support and intravenous fluids.
Final Thoughts on the Influenza Virus
Influenza is a highly contagious disease, so it is important to do what you can to prevent it. Vaccinating yourself and your family is the best way to ensure protection against the virus. If you do contract the flu, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible to reduce the severity of your symptoms.
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