How Does Flu Testing Work
While seeking a PCR test for COVID-19 may now feel almost routine, a PCR test for influenza generally needs to be ordered by a doctor.
Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist and professor of biostatistics at the University of South Australia, suggests asking a GP about the likelihood of influenza if you have cold or flu symptoms and a negative PCR result for COVID-19.
There are a number of sentinel GP practices around Australia, and if you go to see your GP and youve got upper respiratory symptoms, then the GP would actually send the sample off for flu , he explains.
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Confirmed flu samples may be further analysed to track which influenza strains are circulating which feeds into the vaccine development for the following year.
As we move forward, its possible that COVID-19s very emergence will make influenza more difficult to track.
A lot of our estimations of flu come from what we call influenza-like illness, explains Daniel Layton, an immunologist at CSIRO. This categorisation is based mainly on patient symptoms, which can be very similar for COVID-19 and flu.
Its quite possible that the presence of COVID now will make it harder to track influenza being diagnosed with something like a PCR test may actually become more important, he says.
Your Body Will Feel More Run Down With The Flu
Are you feeling under the weather but could force yourself to go to the office? Youre probably dealing with a cold rather than the flu.
Extreme exhaustion could also be indicative of the flu, Rohr said. This symptom can sometimes last for weeks, whereas with the common cold, this symptom is usually mild and limited, if present at all.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that no complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful for treating influenza .
For relief of symptoms, using a neti pot or other method of saline nasal irrigation may help with congestion. Be sure to use distilled, sterile, or previously-boiled water to make the saline solution.
Honey may help relieve nighttime cough in children. However, it should never be given to children under age 1 due to the risk of botulism.
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What Is Being Done About Mrsa Infections Associated With Influenza
CDC is working with state and local public health authorities to monitor and investigate infections with MRSA, including pneumonias and other types of MRSA infections that occur in patients with influenza. CDC also acts as a technical advisor to state and local health departments and various professional organizations that are working to control MRSA.
You Have The Flu Should You Go To The Doctor Or Wait It Out
12 January 18
When you have the flu, one choice looms large in front of your feverish eyes: Should you drag your aching body out in the cold to go to the doctor or hospital, or should you just wrap yourself in blankets, drink fluids and stay put?
For sick people, there’s no downside to going to the hospital or seeking care from a professional, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease specialist and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The antiviral drugs that can help people with the flu work better if they are prescribed early on, he said.
In deciding whether to head to the doctor’s office or hospital, the main symptom that people should watch for is shortness of breath, Adalja told Live Science.
“When someone is unable to breathe normally, that’s a sign the flu may be progressing to pneumonia,” and the person should definitely seek care, he said. Having difficulty breathing means that the infection has moved downward. Usually, the influenza virus infects the upper part of the respiratory tract, for example, the bronchi , he said. If the infection moves down into the lungs and causes pneumonia, a patient can get worse very quickly.
Fevers raise the heart rate, which takes a toll on the body, he said. Fevers can also make people feel especially miserable, so seek care if you feel that you cannot cope with your fever, he said.
So far this year, the U.S. is experiencing a relatively harsh flu season.
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A Fever From Other Illnesses
There are many other causes of a fever besides the flu virus. Any type of infection, whether bacterial or viral, can cause you to run a fever. Even being sunburned or experiencing heat exhaustion can elevate your temperature. Some types of cancer, certain medications, vaccines, and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also be accompanied by a fever.
Listen To Our Flu Podcast
Victorias Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton and the Director of the World Health Organisations Influenza Centre, Professor Kanta Subbarao discuss the complexities of the different flu viruses and how vaccines are crafted to protect us, common misconceptions, when to get vaccinated and why some groups are more vulnerable to the flu.
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Is It Flu Covid
Staying Healthy This Winter
Feeling sick can be especially concerning these days. Could your sniffles be caused by COVID-19? Or the flu? A cold? Or maybe allergies?
Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing, and feeling tired. But there are important differences.
Figuring out whats making you sick can help you recover and prevent spreading sickness to others.
What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu
Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and may include:
Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children.
Sometimes people have trouble figuring out whether they have a cold or the flu. There are differences between them. The symptoms of a cold usually come on more slowly and are less severe than symptoms of the flu. Colds rarely cause a fever or headaches.
Sometimes people say that they have a “flu” when they really have something else. For example, “stomach flu” isn’t the flu it’s gastroenteritis.
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What To Do When You Have The Flu
A lot of people arent sure what to do when they think theyre coming down with the flu. The answer might surprise you. Dr. Pernica, an infectious disease specialist at Hamilton Health Sciences, shares his advice on what to do if you suspect that you or a loved one has the flu.
There are many different viruses that can cause flu-like symptoms. Influenza virus is typically the most severe. It tends to include fever, difficulty breathing, general feelings of unwellness and sometimes body pains.
How Is The Flu Diagnosed
Based on your symptoms and how you look, your doctor usually can tell if you have the flu. Most people who have it look ill and miserable.
Other infections can cause symptoms similar to the flu. So if a doctor needs to be sure that someone has the flu, they might do a test. They’ll take a sample of mucus by wiping a long cotton swab inside the nose or throat. Results might be ready quickly, or can take longer if the test is sent to a lab.
You may feel miserable if you get the flu, but it’s unlikely to be serious. It’s rare that healthy teens get other problems from the flu. Older adults , young kids , and people with ongoing medical conditions are more likely to become seriously ill with the flu.
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Flu Symptoms Also Appear Quickly
If you feel fine during the day and then all of a sudden feel sick when you get home, chances are you might be coming down with the flu. Colds usually take a little more time to develop, according to Ian Tong, chief medical officer at Doctor On Demand.
You can go from well to sick within just a few hours , Tong said. Symptoms may start with a cough but then will rapidly progress to a high fever, body aches and fatigue, he said.
When To Visit Your Gp
If you are otherwise fit and healthy, there’s usually no need to visit your GP if you have flu-like symptoms.
You should just rest at home until you feel better, while keeping warm, drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers if necessary.
In these cases, your GP may suggest taking antiviral medication.
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How Do I Avoid Getting The Flu In The First Place
Even before someone has symptoms, they can spread the flu by sneezing, coughing and talking. These actions release tiny droplets containing the flu virus into the air. You can become infected if these droplets land in your nose, eyes or mouth.
You can also become infected if you touch any of these body parts after touching an object contaminated with the flu, like doorknobs, phones or someones hands.
Prevention is key to tackling the flu. The flu vaccination is the most important thing you can do to avoid getting the flu yourself and spreading it to others.
Its also important to wash your hands with soap and water after exposure to anyone who has fever, runny nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, or is sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
If you have a cough or are sneezing, make sure you do your part to stop the spread of germs. Watch the video below.
How to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing:
- Never cough into your bare hand!
- Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
- Dispose of the tissue immediately. Dont save it for later.
- If you dont have a tissue, tuck your nose and mouth into the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often, using soap and water or hand sanitizer
What If My Child Has Symptoms
To date, children do not seem to get very sick from COVID-19. Most healthy kids will get over it in a few days, as they would a common cold or the seasonal flu.
But if your child is sick, you should keep them home. With schools across Canada closed, that’s a little easier now. Definitely keep them away from others, especially older family members or relatives.
“If you’ve got one kid who has coronavirus, chances are they’re exposed to one to three older people who are at risk, who may end up in the hospital,” said Morris.
One recent study found that the virus can still be detected in children long after they recover. While nasal swabs tested negative for the disease after two weeks, in some cases rectal swabs came back positive up to four weeks after hospital admission. However, scientists don’t yet know whether the disease can be transmitted via feces.
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How Does The Flu Shot Work
The flu shot is an inactivated flu virus that teaches your immune system to recognize the virus and clear it if you are infected. The flu shot is safe and widely available.
While the flu is common, it can be serious. Getting a flu shot is especially important for groups who are at higher risk for major complications, including:
Those who are pregnant
Dispelling Misinformation About The Flu Vaccine Sickness Treatment And Recovery
If you’ve ever had the , you know how sick you can be. Chances are good that some of the advice friends and family gave you about avoiding or dealing with the flu was wrong. There seems to be no shortage of misinformation and bad advice when it comes to dealing with the flu and the flu shot.
Here are 10 common myths about the flu.
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How To Treat Flu Symptoms
In most cases, the best things to do when you have the flu are:
- Rest at home.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid contact with other people.
Your doctor might give you prescription medications called antiviral drugs if youâre at higher risk of complications, such as if you:
- Are very sick or have other medical conditions
Stay Home And Get Plenty Of Rest
Mind your flu manners. On the first day you have symptoms, call your work or school and tell them you wonât be coming in for a few days. You’re sick — and very contagious! Take advantage of down time and give your body some much-needed rest. Curl up on the couch and spend some time reading, watching DVDs, or just cat-napping while your body battles the virus.
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Why Get The Flu Vaccine
You never forget the flu, it can hit quickly and last for a few weeks, meaning time off work or school and staying away from family and friends.
The flu doesnt discriminate, and anyone can be affected thats why it’s so important that everyone in the community protects themselves against the flu this season by getting their flu shot.
Find out more about flu immunisation.
What Is The Common Cold
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus. According to the American Lung Association, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, the rhinovirus is most often the one that makes people sneeze and sniffle. Its highly contagious.
Though you can catch a cold at any time of year, colds are more common during the winter months. This is because most cold-causing viruses thrive in low humidity.
Colds spread when someone whos sick sneezes or coughs, sending virus-filled droplets flying through the air.
You can get sick if you touch a surface that has recently been handled by an infected person and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. Youre most contagious in the first two to four days after youre exposed to the cold virus.
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Home Remedies And Lifestyle
If you develop flu symptoms while at work, school, a friend’s house, or in any public place, go home. Until you have not had a fever for more than 24 hours , stay there and away from anyone unless they are providing you medical care.
Unless you have signs of a medical emergency, you do not need to go to the emergency room when you have the flu. If you must go out, wear a face mask to protect others.
Contact your healthcare provider within the first 48 hours of developing flu symptoms. This will give you a chance to discuss your symptoms and determine if you are in a high-risk group and should start prescription treatment.
Resting is needed when you have influenza. You should also avoid smoking and secondhand smoke, as this may make your symptoms worse.
Water and clear liquids are recommended for those who have influenza. This will help prevent dehydration. You should, however, avoid alcoholic beverages when you have the flu.
For sore throat, a warm saltwater gargle or lozenges may help provide relief.
Check If You Have Flu
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- an aching body
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.
|Appears quickly within a few hours||Appears gradually|
|Affects more than just your nose and throat||Affects mainly your nose and throat|
|Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal||Makes you feel unwell, but you’re OK to carry on as normal|
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Wintery Mix Of Viruses
Winter is the prime cold and flu season. Youre more likely to be indoors and closer to others when its colder outside. Weather also plays a role in the spread of viruses.
Cold and flu viruses survive better and are more transmissible if its cooler and if theres lower humidity, Gordon explains.
Experts are concerned that flu and COVID-19 cases may increase and overlap in the winter. Flu cases usually start to increase around October and peak between December and February. Being infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time is possible, as is showing symptoms of both.
If youre sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. Such drugs can make your flu milder and shorten the time you are sick. They work best if theyre used early in your illness.
The FDA has also approved one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, to treat COVID-19. Other treatments are in development and under review. No complementary approaches have been shown to be helpful for fighting off flu or COVID-19.
Fortunately, strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also prevent the spread of flu and cold. Measures like masking and social distancing work for other respiratory viruses, as well as COVID-19, says Dr. Chip Walter, who studies vaccine development at Duke University.