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All about influenza (flu) influenza transmission causes of influenza influenza virus risk factors for influenza complications of influenza symptoms of influenza diagnosis of influenza treatment for influenza influenza prevention influenza vaccine (flu vaccine)

How to control or prevent influenza?

The preferred treatment for influenza, and consequently most viral infections is prevention. This prevention can be achieved through vaccinations. Influenza vaccinations are given to millions annually. The vaccine is actually a trivalent vaccine meaning that one injection contains three subtypes. People who are at a high risk of infection with influenza, or are more likely to get complications if infected, should get vaccinated against the disease every year. Each year's flu vaccine is

different because it is adjusted to combat whatever virus strains are expected to be circulating that season. There is growing support for a policy of recommending the influenza vaccine to all adults, and many doctors will give the vaccine to any adult who requests it.

Several antiviral drugs can be used to prevent infection with influenza virus. Doctors may prescribe these drugs when a person has a clear, recent exposure to someone with influenza. In addition, these drugs are used during epidemics of influenza to protect unvaccinated people who are at high risk of complications of influenza: older people and people with chronic illnesses. Amantadine and rimantadine are older antiviral drugs that offer protection against influenza type A but not influenza type B. Two new drugs, oseltamivir and zanamivir, can prevent infection with either influenza virus type A or type B. These drugs produce minimal side effects.

The influenza virus usually is passed through the air, by coughing and by direct contact, such as shaking hands or kissing. For this reason, practicing good hygiene - covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands frequently - can help you to avoid getting the flu or spreading it to others.

More information on influenza (flu)

What is influenza (flu)? - Influenza (flu) is a respiratory infection caused by one of the influenza viruses that typically is spread by air or by direct contact.
How is influenza transmitted? - Influenza is spread through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person during coughing and sneezing.
What causes influenza? - The flu is caused by three types (strains) of viruses - influenza A, B and C. Influenza A is responsible for the deadly influenza pandemics.
What's the influenza virus? - The influenza virus is in a class of viruses known as orthomyoxoviruses, with myxo referring to the fact that they infect mucus membranes.
What're the risk factors for influenza? - All people 50 years of age and older are at increased risk for serious illness with the flu, or in contact with those at high risk, and should receive vaccine.
What're the complications of influenza? - Influenza complications usually arise from bacterial infections of the lower respiratory tract. Pneumonia is the major serious complication of influenza.
What are the symptoms of influenza? - Influenza can cause a variety of symptoms. Typical flu symptoms include headache, fever, chills, cough and body aches. Intestinal symptoms are uncommon.
How is influenza diagnosed? - Diagnosis of influenza (flu) is based on typical symptoms of fever, chills, headaches, cough and body aches. There are a variety of tests to detect influenza.
What is the treatment for influenza? - The main treatment for influenza (flu) is to rest adequately, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid exertion. Amantadine and rimantadine are effective against influenza A.
How to control or prevent influenza? - The preferred treatment for influenza, and most viral infections is prevention. The prevention can be achieved through vaccinations.
What's the influenza vaccine (flu vaccine)? - Vaccination is the principal measure for preventing influenza. Influenza vaccinations are given to millions annually.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005