How to recognize and treat the flu

After the doctor has inquired carefully into the life history of the patient as related to his symptoms or his disease, a physical and laboratory eFlu (short for influenza) is an acute, highly contagious, potentially risky viral infection that begins like an ordinary cold but gets worse. Typically it involves fever, chills, sweating, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sore skin, and general achiness.

Usually the only remedy is time and rest, plus a call to your doctor. Drink plenty of liquids; control the discomfort of fever and achiness with aspirin or acetaminophen (for a child use the latter); follow your doctor’s advice.

Without precautions secondary infection can develop from the flu virus or from bacteria that thrive on lowered resistance. The very young, the elderly, and those with diabetes, or chronic cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, asthma, or anemia are especially at risk and can be vaccinated against flu; consult your doctor.

With proper care you should feel better within a few days. But that doesn’t mean you are fully recovered. A premature rush back to normal activities invites fatigue and a relapse.

Because it is so contagious, flu often comes in epidemics. During an epidemic, caution is the best prevention. Don’t get overtired – that lowers resistance. Stay out of crowds. If you get flu, avoid close contact with others. Cover your mouth when coughing or blowing your nose. Discard tissues in a paper bag and trash it daily. Wash your hands often-always before touching others’ food or utensils.