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Patient Support

What is Influenza?

Influenza or flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is easily spread from person to person. It is caused by the influenza virus which can infect the nose, throat, and lungs. The viruses pass through the air and can enter your body through your nose or mouth. It can also be acquired from contaminated surfaces. It can cause mild to severe illness, but in some cases, it can become more serious leading to hospitalization or death.

People with a higher risk of developing influenza are:


There are three different influenza virus families: A, B, and C.

The viruses change constantly and different strains circulate the world every year.

How does it spread


Apart from cold which develops, the flu symptoms often appear suddenly and can include:


Due to the non-specific nature of flu symptoms, it is difficult to tell if you have the flu based on symptoms alone. If you are at high risk for complications, a doctor’s exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. Some tests can determine if you have the flu as long as you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.


Best ways to treat the flu are by:

Antiviral Medicines

In case of serious complications, your doctor may prescribe you an antiviral medicine. Antivirals have been proven to reduce flu symptoms if started within a day or two of getting sick.

Treatment with antiviral medicine is most important for people with suspected or confirmed influenza who are at higher risk for complications.

Other Medications

Over-the-counter medication can be used to minimize discomfort associated with flu symptoms.


Get a flu vaccine every year

Make sure that you get your vaccination done as it is your best defence against the flu.

It is recommended mostly for the people who are at high risk. 

Stop the spread of germs by practicing good health habits

Questions for your Doctor

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Seasonal influenza is a contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. It is not the same as a common cold. Influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), a sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Influenza cannot be treated with antibiotics. Severe cases of influenza may be treated by antiviral under the supervision of a doctor. The best protection against influenza is vaccination.

Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. However, influenza can cause severe disease and death, especially in people over 65, young children, pregnant women and people with long-term health conditions. Every year, people in these at-risk groups die from influenza. Worldwide, up to 650 000 people die of respiratory diseases linked to seasonal influenza each year. 

Influenza is always unpleasant regardless of the influenza virus type, but it is usually mild and most people recover quickly. People with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, headache and a slight temperature should rest at home; they can visit their local pharmacy for advice or use painkillers and decongestants. 

People with severe or unusual symptoms and those at increased risk of severe disease (children under 5, people over 65, pregnant women and people with a pre-existing medical condition) should contact their physician to determine whether antiviral or other treatment is needed.

It is important to be vaccinated every year. This is partly because influenza viruses constantly change, meaning different strains can circulate each year, and partly because immunity from an influenza vaccination decreases over time. Seasonal influenza vaccines are updated each year to provide the highest possible protection by matching the circulating viruses.

At home also, patients should spit in a box which is covered by a lid. Before disposing off the sputum, it should be boiled. It is very important not to get scared or to hide the disease whenever someone develops the symptoms of TB. It is necessary that the person concerned may get himself/ herself examined and take adequate period.

No, influenza vaccines are safe and do not cause influenza. You might experience a reaction to the vaccination, but this reaction will not be influenza and will be milder than influenza symptoms. Even if you have been vaccinated, it is possible to get influenza. This is because the year’s vaccine is designed to protect against the season’s expected types of influenza, but not against every type of influenza. Furthermore, your individual immunity might make you more susceptible to a specific type of influenza. Nonetheless, vaccination is still recommended – even if you do get influenza, the symptoms will be milder and therefore less dangerous.

You’re contagious from the day before you develop symptoms until 24 hours after your fever breaks.