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Influenza: what are its symptoms and what treatment is recommended?

Influenza usually presents some of the following symptoms which can arrive suddenly, these are;

  • Fever (does not appear in all cases)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue with tiredness
  • Vomiting (not present in all cases)

As you see, the symptoms of influenza are very similar to COVID-19, so a diagnostic test is required to determine which one you are presenting. These tests are the RIDT rapid diagnostic test to detect the influenza virus, which gives results between 10 to 15 minutes and is therefore considered a rapid test. There are other tests that can take an hour or more and are performed in specialized laboratories.

Treatment for influenza includes prescription antiviral medications used to relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness, as well as prevent other respiratory complications. Medications to treat influenza and that are approved by the FDA are;

  • oseltamivir phosphate (available in generic version or marketed as Tamiflu®),
  • zanamivir (brand name Relenza®),
  • peramivir (trademark Rapivab®) and
  • baloxavir marboxil (brand name Xofluza®).
  • Flu medications can be used by children, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions. These should always be under medical supervision monitoring side effects of them to prevent complications.

In general, if you have or experience any of the symptoms, request a consultation from a health professional to perform the diagnostic test for influenza, stay home, rest and drink fluids that help with your hydration, follow the treatment recommendations as indicated and watch how your body changes in the face of the virus.

Reference

Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades, Centro Nacional de Vacunación y Enfermedades Respiratorias (NCIRD), Influenza (Septiembre, 2020) recuperado de; https://espanol.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm el 30 de septiembre de 2020. 

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