In its most basic form, influenza – more commonly known by its abbreviation as the 'flu or flu – is a viral disease spread by coughs and sneezes. It's superficially similar to the cold virus, however the symptoms develop much more rapidly and can be far more severe. It's very hard to be really troubled by a common cold, however the flu can be a lot more serious if it isn't handled properly. Given its viral nature, a flu virus can be caught at any time of the year however it's particularly common during the winter, for reasons usually unrelated to the weather or temperature.
Coming down with the flu can be a truly unpleasant experience. In most cases you can expect to be bedridden for at least a couple of days, maybe even a week. However it's not the end of the world, and the flu today is perfectly survivable. Assuming you take active steps towards recovery.
The best approach to surviving influenza is, as with any other problem, avoiding it in the first place. The most effective way this can be done is by immunizing yourself to the virus by a vaccination, which are readily available from most clinics across the country. Bear in mind that a vaccine does not guarantee you won't ever catch the virus ever again, but does give you a fighting chance against it. Most doctors will recommend getting the flu jab, with the only exceptions being those who have allergic reactions to such shots, and those running a temperature. The latter can always receive it when they've recovered.
Another short-term step you can take to avoiding the flu virus is actively avoiding situations where you may catch it. Public transportation, for example, is a prime place to pick up diseases from other passengers. Unfortunately, though, one's day-to-day life cannot avoid coming into contact with other people. At some point, you'll have to place yourself in a place where people with a flu virus may be.
By ensuring you're well hydrated and fed, you can also provide a stronger natural defence against disease within your own immune system. Eat a regular, balanced diet of fruit and vegetables while drinking plenty of fluids, and your body will be more capable of fighting off viruses you come into contact with. Keeping this up while already sick can also help you recover more swiftly from illness if you come down with flu yourself.
Of course no defence is impregnable. So what can be done if you catch the virus anyway?
First and foremost, make sure you get plenty of rest. Avoid as much as possible standing and moving around for extended periods of time. This is easier, of course, if you live with other people. If you live on your own, or are otherwise in a position where you can't consistently rely on help from others, try to limit your activity as much as you can. Drinking plenty of fluids and eating plenty of healthy foods, especially foods high in vitamin C and D, can also help boost your recovery. Drinking frequently will also prevent dehydration, as you will sweat profusely as you work through the illness.
Antibiotics will not assist you as the flu is a viral infection, however you can take antiviral pharmaceuticals instead to prevent the infection from spreading and getting worse. One such treatment is Tamiflu, which is sold by most pharmaceutical providers such as 121doc, and can be taken within the first two days after the symptoms of a flu start arise. This can greatly reduce the duration of them, promoting a swifter recovery. The treatment can also be taken by anyone aged one year and up, making it effective medicine for the whole family.
If an infant younger than one year old develops a flu, it's important to take them to a paediatrician or the emergency clinic as soon as possible.