What is flu?
Flu or influenza is a general illness with an often severe course which is transmitted by influenza viruses via droplet or smear infection.
Typical flu symptoms
- Sudden onset of a general feeling of being very unwell
- Rapid rise in fever (over 38°C)
- Headache and aching limbs
- Sniffles and coughing
- Sore throat and pain when swallowing, hoarseness
- Fatigue and exhaustion, more rarely dizziness
- Vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea (particularly in children)
What can be done to cure flu?
Treatment is essentially aimed at combating symptoms:
Drinking plenty of fluids is important to compensate for fluid loss due to fever and runny nose.
If you have a cough with sputum, don't take medications that suppress the urge to cough. Not coughing up the mucus hinders the healing process and can foster complications.
Use decongestant nasal sprays only for a short time, i.e. not longer than 7 days, because they dry out the mucous membranes, especially with repeated and regular use. It’s better to use a nasal cream or a saline nasal spray.
When to see a doctor?
A doctor should be consulted in the following cases:
- Fever of more than 40°C that lasts more than 24 hours.
- When older people and people with weakened immune systems get sick.
- Shortness of breath or pain when breathing.
- Pus-like sputum, as it indicates a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract.
- Middle ear infection and sinusitis or other complications.
- Disorientation and stiff neck.
- Pre-existing chronic illnesses, in particular of the lungs, heart and circulatory system.