THROUGH WITH THE FLU
With the weather having a mind of its own, the transition from winter to summer or vice versa, usually takes quite a toll on us. During this time, we tend to catch a cold quite easily as our bodies adjust to the newness in the atmosphere. But sometimes, it's more than just a cold, and after a few weeks of chest-aching coughs, and a runny nose, you realise that you've not only had the flu all this time, but you've also spread it around to your loved ones.
While a cold generally resolves quickly, symptoms can last for up to two weeks. However, unlike the flu, symptoms are generally mild and in most cases do not lead to any serious health complications. For example, there may be little to no fever in the case of common cold, and also the extreme exhaustion that comes along with the flu is absent in case of a cold. The flu can develop into a more serious condition such as pneumonia, especially in the cases of young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with health conditions such as asthma or heart disease.
During flu season, which usually falls in between seasons, you can catch the flu in the same way you'd pick up a cold: by coming into contact with droplets spread by an infected person.
In most cases, lots of fluids and rest are the best way to treat the flu. To control your symptoms, you can try over-the-counter decongestants and pain-relievers like Paracetamol.
The best way to treat a disease, though, is by preventing it.
While there are steps you can take at home, the best method of prevention is by getting influenza vaccines. According to Dr Tareq Salahuddin, one can get influenza vaccine in the hospitals around Dhaka, like Square Hospital or ICDDR, B. "Another way to get the shots is to buy the vaccine on your own, which is available in Glaxosmithkline, and then take it to a doctor to be injected," says Dr Salahuddin. With vaccinations and do-it-yourself remedies at home, there is enough precaution one can take against the diseas, and ensure a flu-free season.
SYMPTOMS OF INFLUENZA
* A 100oF or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)
* A cough and/or sore throat
* A runny or stuffy nose
* Headaches and/or body aches
* Fatigue/Extreme exhaustion
* Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea (most common in children)
PREVENTION AT HOME
* Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer).
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
* Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.