What is influenza?
Influenza is a viral disease that invades the respiratory system- such as the nose, lungs and throat.
For most people, influenza goes on its own; however, influenza and some of its complications can be fatal.
Complications of influenza often include ear infections, bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, sinus infections, and the worsening of some chronic medical conditions, for example, asthma, diabetes and congestive heart failure.
Influenza often manifests as fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Is there a cure for influenza?
There are a variety of antiviral medicines that are useful for the treatment or prevention of influenza.
These medicines do not eliminate influenza symptoms, but they can reduce the severity of the symptoms and reduce their duration by about a day.
The people that will especially require an antiviral medicine are people who are severely ill or those who are likely to develop complications associated with an influenza attack.
People who are just mildly ill and are not at risk of developing complications associated with influenza can be treated with the antiviral medicine if they have the symptoms for less than 48 hours.
That is because antiviral treatment is most effective in treating seasonal influenza when taken within the first 48 hours after the onset of influenza symptoms.
The antiviral medicines used to treat or prevent flu include oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir.
There are two other antiviral medicines, amantadine and, rimantadine, that were used in the past to treat influenza but are no longer effective because most flu viruses became resistant to them.
The best antiviral medicine is decided on a case-to-case basis as it depends on the type of the influenza virus, whether the virus is immune to the medicine or not, and some other individual factors. A nurse or doctor is in the best position to advice on the best antiviral medicine in your case.
If the flu causes some bacterial complications like sinusitis, ear infection, or bacterial pneumonia, a doctor may recommend antibiotics.
If you are not comfortable with antibiotics and antiviral medicines, there is a host of complementary and alternative treatments that can aid you to kick the away the influenza.
There is a wide variety of homeopathic and herbal remedies that can help to stave off the symptoms and complications arising from influenza.