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Influenza

Description

Influenza is a virus which causes a severe form of respiratory tract infection with generalised bodily symptoms. It spreads around the world in epidemics and is responsible for much ill health.

Most people with influenza will find it impossible to leave their bed and will feel terrible. They may have some or all of the following symptoms:
High fever,
Cold symptoms,
Severe aches and pains,
Severe headache,
Cough,
Sweating and shivering,
Vomiting and diarrhoea.

Many people think they have had flu when all that they have suffered is a bad cold. When you have influenza, you will know the difference. The worst symptoms usually last for 3 to 5 days and should begin to improve. It is common to need 2 - 3 weeks off work as there is quite considerable debility left after the feverish illness is over.

Influenza makes the patient feel terrible, but most people recover. However, the very young, very old and those with poor immunity should be aware that influenza can make them very ill.

If you have influenza, you should:
Stay at home and have plenty of bed rest.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever and aches and pains.
Take a decongestant to alleviate congestion.

You should consult your doctor if symptoms such as:
Clouded/altered consciousness or breathlessness occur
If symptoms continue for more than a week and there is no sign of improvement or if you feel better for a few days then get much worse again.

It is not normally necessary to consult the doctor if you have influenza as there is nothing the doctor can do that you cannot do yourself. As influenza is a virus, there are no prescription remedies. Our pharmacist will be able to provide advice on how to treat the symptoms of influenza.

Our Advice
  • Stay at home.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with fever and aches and pains.
  • Take a decongestant to alleviate congestion.
  • Take a cough medicine or throat lozenges.
  • Avoid contact with others, especially the elderly.