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ONCE YOU GET THE FLU, CAN YOU GET IT AGAIN?

What is flu?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness. It can be mild or severe. The disease is caused by influenza viruses and spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by sick ones. In addition, influenza may cause serious complications, hospitalization, or death. These hazards are frequent among young children, older adults, and pregnant women. Moreover, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, COPD, or heart disease are prone to these complications. Look for flu treatment if you have the symptoms. 

What are the symptoms of influenza?

Symptoms of flu usually begin suddenly. They include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, and sore throat. Moreover, it can progress to more severe symptoms like shortness of breath or chest pain.

What causes this infection?

Influenza or flu is an infectious respiratory disease caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. In addition, sometimes, it can also lead to death. Symptoms typically comprise fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and fatigue. However, you can also have nausea and vomiting. It makes people mistake stomach Flu in place of flu itself.

How can influenza be transmitted? 

The flu virus spreads easily from person to person when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes with hands contaminated by the virus can also lead to infection. Nevertheless, the most significant way this illness spreads is, coughing and sneezing.

Consult your doctor for flu treatment if its symptoms trouble you. He or she may try to rule out the exact cause and assist you in your healing. 

Who is at more risk of having influenza?

People who are at a higher risk for flu complications include-

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease
  • Pregnant women
  • People who reside in nursing residences or other long-term care amenities
  • People who are obese (body mass index of 30 or higher)
  • People who are homeless

If you have an infection, get the flu treatment as soon as possible. Moreover, once you are treated, consult your doctor for vaccination. It will prevent the disease in the future. 

Can you be vaccinated for flu?

Yes, it is significant to get your influenza vaccination every year. The circulating viruses change frequently. Therefore, you need a new vaccine each year to protect yourself. Flu vaccination is safe and effective. It can reduce your risk of catching the infection by 50-60%.

What are the after-effects of the influenza vaccine?

You may develop some side effects from this shot. However, common side effects include- 

  • Soreness
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Fever is another possible side effect. The vaccine is made with egg proteins. Therefore, if you are allergic to eggs, talk to your doctor about getting a different vaccine. In addition, other side effects may include-

  • Muscle aches and pains 
  • Vomiting and diarrhea 
  • Headache 

Although side effects are generally mild, you can have a severe reaction to the vaccine. They include a severe allergic reaction. If this happens while using the flu treatment, seek immediate medical care.

What is the difference between flu and cold?

The flu is a respiratory illness. On the other hand, colds are usually for the head. Both cause similar symptoms. They include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and fever. 

Flu can also lead to pneumonia. However, mostly, it does not. This infection usually lasts longer than a cold (7-10 days vs. 3-5 days). Moreover, it is more serious. 

You can get the flu from someone who has it or exposure to a contaminated surface. On the other hand, it is not clear how colds spread. You are prone to contract influenza if-

  • You have not had it before
  • You are pregnant
  • You have a weakened immune system

Look for effective flu treatment if the symptoms last more than a week. On the other hand, you can catch colds and flu from contact with infected droplets, which include-

  • Sneezing or coughing by someone who has the virus on his or her hands.
  • Touching their face or nose before washing their hands, for example, after going to the toilet, blowing their nose, or cleaning a child’s dirty nappy.
  • A flu-infected person coughing or sneezing close to you.
  • The droplets settle on your hands or in your face, such as when chatting.
  • Touching your nose or mouth without washing your hands first.

Avoid these things even during your healing. Doing so will prevent complications and help you get well soon. 

What are the symptoms of influenza?

The most common symptoms are fever, headache, tiredness, aching muscles, and joints. You may also suffer from a cough or sore throat. The symptoms will usually pass in 7-10 days. However, they can last longer for some people. If these symptoms persist for more than a week, discuss flu treatment with your doctor. 

What are the symptoms of a cold?

The most common symptoms of a cold or flu are fever, headache, tiredness, and aches and pains. These will pass within 3-5 days. However, your body needs this time to recover. You may also have a cough, sore throat, or blocked nose. 

Once you get the flu, can you get it again?

You can get the flu again, even after you have had it before. You are more likely to get the infection again if you did not get the full course of the vaccine. Moreover, you can also get the flu again if you came in contact with someone who has the infection. 

Can vaccines completely protect you against influenza?

It is significant to know that you can contract the infection even if you are vaccinated. In such cases, discuss flu treatment with your doctor if you develop the symptoms. Timely treatment can help you get better soon. Moreover, it will prevent complications. 

When should you contact your doctor?

Following are the condition when you should look for your doctor-

  • You are an adult, and your fever reaches more than 100.4°F.
  • Your child is younger than 12 months or older, and his or her fever reaches 100.2°F.
  • Your fever lasts longer than three days.
  • You have a headache with your fever.
  • You feel stiffness in the neck. It feels when you try to touch your chin to your chest.
  • You think you might be pregnant.
  • You are sick for more than 10 days with flu symptoms and do not get better.

Other than these symptoms, your health care provider should see you if-

  • You are pregnant and have fever or flu symptoms.
  • You are 65 years of age or older and develop the symptoms.
  • Your child is younger than 24 months old, and he or she has such symptoms.
  • If you are an adult with heart disease or asthma, diabetes, kidney failure, or chronic lung disease.

What is the best flu treatment?

Various medications can help you get rid of this respiratory infection. However, Tamiflu or Relenza may work best for you. Both these drugs are available on prescription. They are basically antiviral medications and work against most types of influenza viruses. They may include H1N1 swine flu. Moreover, they are taken by mouth, usually twice a day for five days.

Treatment with both drugs reduces your symptoms and makes you feel better faster. In addition, they can trim down the risk of severe complications like pneumonia.

Are there any side effects of Tamiflu and Relenza?

Neither drug has any known side effects. However, the most common side effect is nausea and vomiting. If you do take either drug, medical studies show that benefits outweigh the risks for otherwise healthy people. They include pregnant women and children as young as two years old.

In addition, you should keep a few things in mind if you are taking Tamiflu or Relenza-

  • Make sure you take the full course of treatment, even if you start to feel better
  • Don’t share your medication with anyone else
  • If you have any questions about either drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist

Your doctor must prescribe you Tamiflu (oseltamivir). However, Relenza (zanamivir) is available without a prescription at some drugstores or pharmacies. People who are 2 weeks or older can take Tamiflu. However, people who are 5 years of age and older can take Relenza for flu treatment. 

In what forms are the flu medications available?

Tamiflu is only available in capsule form. Therefore, you must swallow the whole tablet with some water. The oral suspension version may be made for children who can gulp down the capsules. However, they have difficulty drinking from a cup. It takes about 30 minutes to dissolve and must be mixed and shaken immediately before drinking.

Relenza is inhaled through a nebulizer. You must plug it into the wall to work. Moreover, do not keep Relenza in the refrigerator before use. It comes in individual dose vials that are thrown away after use.

What are the home remedies for flu?

Several home remedies can help to ease symptoms and speed up the healing process. However, some of the most popular remedies include-

  • Drinking plenty of fluids

It is significant to drink plenty of fluids when you are suffering from the flu. It will help to loosen up mucus and keep your body hydrated. In addition, try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

  • Taking over-the-counter medications

You can get several medications over the counter to ease your symptoms and help with flu treatment. These include pain relievers, fever reducers, and antihistamines.

  • Resting

It is vital to get plenty of rest when you are suffering from the flu. It will help your body to fight off the illness. Furthermore, try to avoid activities that make you extremely tired and try to get plenty of sleep.

  • Eating healthy

Eating a healthy diet can help to strengthen your immune system. Moreover, it may also combat flu symptoms. Be sure to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, avoid junk food, and try to drink lots of water.

  • Supplementing vitamin C

Vitamin C supplements can help boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick. 

  • Steam inhalation

Steam inhalation can loosen up mucus and congestion, making breathing easier. Simply add a few drops of essential oil to a pot of boiling water, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10-15 minutes.

  • Chicken soup

Chicken soup is well-known for its ability to lessen influenza symptoms and speed up the healing process.

  • Ginger

Drinking ginger tea is a great way to help ease nausea and stomach upset. Moreover, ginger can also bring effective results in your flu treatment. 

  • Garlic

Garlic has natural antiviral and antibiotic properties. It makes it extremely effective at combating flu symptoms. Chop two or three cloves of garlic, add them to a pot of boiling water, and steep for 10-15 minutes.

  • Lemon

Lemons are high in vitamin C. Moreover, they have natural antiviral properties. Squeezing fresh lemon juice into a glass of water or drinking lemon tea can help boost your immune system and fight off the flu.

There are several other home remedies for flu, which can help speed up the healing process. However, it is vital to consult a doctor before starting any new treatments. If your symptoms persist or worsen, seek instant medical attention.

How can you protect yourself from the flu?

The single best way to prevent flu is by getting your annual flu vaccine and practicing good health habits. Along with using your flu treatment, implementing preventive measures are equally important to avoid complications. You can put off the transmission of germs by-

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you sneeze or cough
  • Sneezing and coughing into your elbow rather than of your hand
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Keeping yourself away from contact with unwell people
  • Putting a cover on your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough with a handkerchief or tissue
  • If your hankie or tissue is unapproachable, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm

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