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Influenza or more commonly known as the Flu is a viral infection that mainly attacks your respiratory system. They can be categorized in three main groups namely: A, B , and C, with type A being the most dangerous. It has caused a pandemic in 1918 which infected a third of the world’s population. Their symptoms can be similar to some other conditions but in cases that are in the milder side, they usually subside on their own. Although it can be quite common nowadays, everyone would still have to be cautious of it as it can lead to many severe complications.

Understanding the sickness

Influenza is a seasonal sickness that can be mistaken to be a common cold. The symptoms can include the sudden onset of cough, runny and stuffy nose and the overall feeling of being unwell. They can also sometimes cause vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms develop from day 1 to 4 of contracting the disease and most people would normally heal within 2 weeks even without the help of flu medicine.

Difference between colds and flu

It is extremely important to understand the difference between colds and flu. They might be similar but there are subtle distinctions between them that might be able to help you identify one from the other. The common cold will gradually progress with the symptoms showing itself from day-to-day. On the other hand, the symptoms of the flu will emerge within 24 to 48 hours. Chest pains and body ache is a symptom of flu that is not common to colds.

How the flu spreads.

Flu is a contagious disease, especially back then when there were no vaccines and medicines that stop their progress. A simple sneeze and cough from a person that has the sickness would be enough to spread it. Some think that tiny droplets made from sneezing and coughing can be transmitted orally or be absorbed by the lungs through breathing.  For people who are not vaccinated or do not have a strong immune system, it can be spread more easily. 


Over the counter medicines can ease the discomfort made by the symptoms of flu. The medicine targets the symptoms that cause you discomfort and will lessen its burden while the flu passes on. Here are some of them:


These kinds of medicines are primarily used to reduce the pain and fever that you are experiencing. Some analgesics include Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen. Medicine like Aspirin should be avoided because of the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome.Antihistamines. These medicines will help dry out your nose, along with their discomfort, however, they also tend to make you sleepy so avoid taking them when you plan on driving or doing some other complicated tasks. Antihistamines include diphenhydramine and loratadine. The latter is a non-drowsy alternative but is believed to be less effective than other antihistamines.



Take these in order to relieve a stuffy and/or clogged nose. Be aware, however, that side effects include insomnia, nervousness, and irritability. To be safe, pregnant women and those with uncontrolled high blood pressure should avoid pseudoephedrine products. A common decongestant is pseudoephedrine. Nasal Steroids. To help ease a runny nose or release sinus pressure, take fluticasone or mometasone. They can easily relieve a runny nose and they also double as medicine for seasonal allergies.

Other notable medicines that will help relieve flu symptoms include the following:

·         Expectorants for the easier blowing of the nose and/or loosening cough/mucus production such as Guaifenesin.

·         Antitussives help suppress coughs such as Dextromethorphan

·         Throat lozenges to relieve a sore throat.


As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The most effective way of preventing the flu from spreading and you developing it is by getting vaccinated.  People who get a flu shot are shot with an inactive dose of the virus. This then leads to your body allowing to create antibodies to fight off the live and more dangerous type. Another best thing to do is to have a healthy lifestyle. Exercising every day and having a balanced and healthy diet will build up your immune system.

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