Seasonal flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, nasal discharge, dry cough, headache, body aches and stomach conditions. The best way to minimize risk of seasonal flu is getting yourself vaccinated before the flu season.
Seasonal flu or seasonal influenza is a disease of the respiratory system, caused due to infection by influenza virus. As the term signifies, this particular disease is at its peak in a specific season, which is late November through March in the United States. The 2009 – 2010 influenza season has remained worse, in which a new variant viral strain called pandemic H1N1/09 virus infected people all over the world. And this season flu symptoms (or swine flu symptoms) are more severe than the previous cases.
In an individual with flu infection, the virus affects the nose, throat and lungs, leading to various symptoms. In comparison to common cold that is also caused by virus, seasonal flu result in serious health conditions. As per medical data, about 5 – 20 percent people get influenza every year, out of which approximately 30,000 people have lost their lives due to flu related complications. Being aware of its symptoms and treatment is essential to combat life-threatening medical problems.
The main concerning issue with seasonal flu is its contagiousness through respiratory secretions (sneezing, coughing, etc.). In general, the symptoms in children are more serious than healthy adults. Likewise the signs and symptoms of flu are severe in certain sections of people, including older citizens and those having an underlying medical problem. Some of the commonly manifested symptoms of seasonal flu are:
- Fever and Chills – Very high fever and occasional chills are noticeable symptoms of seasonal flu. Running high fever is a common flu sign, which is rarely observed in cold.
- Sore Throat – Within 2 to 3 days of influenza virus infection, throat itching and soreness are manifested in maximum patients.
- Nasal Congestion – Runny nose with a watery discharge is another major symptom of seasonal influenza. Besides, nasal stuffiness, chest congestion may also be present in flu patients.
- Dry Cough – Mild to severe dry cough (without any mucus expelling from throat) and sneezing are observed in majority of the patients infected with seasonal flu virus.
- Headache and Body Aches – Needless to say, seasonal flu causes muscle pain, joint pain and headache that come and go at frequent intervals. Some also experience painful feeling around the eyes.
- Increased Weakness – Fatigue is a general symptom of seasonal flu, which is caused due to collective effects of less food intake, pain symptoms and trouble breathing.
- Stomach Problems – Nausea, vomiting and frequent bowel movements are not compulsory symptoms in adults. Rather these are observed mostly in children. However, some patients of swine flu manifest vomiting and diarrhea along with the other signs mentioned above.
Treatment and Prevention
Speaking about seasonal flu treatment, it is aimed at reducing the discomfort symptoms of influenza. After confirmation, antiviral drugs are recommended along with certain self care tips like resting, taking plenty of fluids and using nasal sprays. During the influenza disease course, one should refrain from alcohol and smoking to promote quick recovery. The symptoms usually last for 5 – 8 days, wherein dry cough and fatigue may persist for more than 2 weeks.
As an awareness campaign pertaining to prevention of seasonal flu, vaccine experts express the need of flu vaccination for every baby older than 6 months, children and adults. It is to be borne in mind that the regular vaccine is not effective against prevention of H1N1 flu virus. In other words, one should get vaccinated with a new vaccine, specially formulated to protect from swine flu virus.
The best way of treating seasonal flu is to get vaccinated, under the guidance of a qualified physician. And the vaccine is necessary for those who are very young, older than 50 years, pregnant or have underlying diseases such as heart disorders, asthma, HIV/AIDS, etc. To be more precise, people who are health conscious and want to minimize susceptibility to flu virus should opt for its vaccination.