Seasonal influenza is a viral disease and commonly the disease is known as ‘Flu’. The virus invades upper and lower respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs) producing mild symptoms to severe and life threatening complications. To avoid catching influenza during its peak season, you need to take extra care. The person who is suffering from flu can spread the infection one day before the beginning of the symptoms and remains contagious for five to six days after the flu symptoms develop.
People who have weak immune system and children are known to remain contagious for more than a week.The spread of virus is through droplet. Sneezing, coughing, close contact such as kissing etc. can spread the virus from one person to another. Though anyone can contract the infection; children, older people, pregnant women, persons suffering from diseases are at greater risk of developing flu related complications. Vaccinating against flu every year is the best way to prevent influenza.
For How Long Is Influenza Contagious?
Flu is the most contagious disease. People suffering from flu can spread the infection even if the person is six feet away through droplet infection. Most experts believe the virus remains active in the droplet when the person suffering from it sneezes or coughs.These droplets remain in the air and can be inhaled by anyone who is near to the person. Thus the virus lands into the mouth and nose or the lungs of another person through air.
Besides spreading through air, the virus can spread from direct person to person contact. Often the healthy person can contract the flu virus when he touches door knobs, handles, and clothes and utensil contaminated by flu virus and then making contact with his hand on his nose or mouth. Shared utensils and shared clothing can also spread the infection.
If you have been exposed to flu virus, and if you want to know that whether it is simple cold or the flu virus, you have to contact your doctor as both the condition have similar symptoms. If you want to know if you are suffering from flu you have to know the symptoms of flu. They are fever, generalized body ache, throat and nose congestion, cough, headache, chills etc. The length of the illness remains for 5 to 6 days after the onset symptoms, during this period and one day prior to the onset of symptoms the patient remains contagious. During this period the patient should take proper rest at home so that he may not infect the virus to others.
Tamiflu For Influenza Treatment
Prevention is better than cure and yearly vaccination is the answer for preventing flu. However, if flu is detected early, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine if needed. Antiviral medicines are only available on physician’s prescription. One such antiviral drugs brand name is ‘Tamiflu’. The generic name is oseltamivir. The drug is available as pill and liquid. It shortens the illness, and prevents complication, but it is most effective when taken within two days in beginning of illness. It has to be continued for 5 days once started in a patient suffering from flu.
Tamiflu cannot cure the illness but reduces the intensity of the symptoms, shortens the illness and makes the person less contagious. Thus it speeds the recovery. Not everyone requires to take the medicine it is only the high risk group who require it.
Prevention Of Flu Spread
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep a safe distance from them.
- The sick person should stay at home so that other people are not exposed to flu virus.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue paper, and turn your head to other way round.
- Wash your hands as often as you can, especially before eating.
- Avoid touching your nose and mouth frequently.
- Eat healthy food, take proper rest, drink enough water and eat fresh fruits to boost and maintain strong immunity.
- Certain people such as nurses and doctors who come in close contact with flu patients and working in that setup or in particular ward of flu patients may require to take antiviral medicines to prevent the disease.