Influenza – aka the ‘flu’ – is a contagious viral disease which affects the respiratory system. Catching a flu is common, but in some cases, it can turn into a critical – and deadly – illness. Of the three types of influenza viruses (A, B and C), only types A and B cause human disease of any concern.
In a tropical climate such as Malaysia, Influenza A circulation is year-round, but typically peaks during rainy seasons.
The elderly, people with pre-existing chronic diseases, pregnant women, and young children are most susceptible to complications.
Symptoms to look out for
Not to be mistaken with the common cold, the flu typically occurs with a sudden onset of symptoms. The common signs of Influenza A include:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Do I need to see a doctor?
In milder cases, the symptoms will be less severe and may resolve on their own. However, medical treatment is needed when symptoms persist for more than a week without improvement.
Stay hydrated, as this will help with expelling the mucus in your chest, besides strengthening your immune system.
Those who are at high risk for flu complications must seek immediate medical treatment.
How to avoid getting it
Vaccination is highly recommended when there is an outbreak of Influenza A.
Other preventive measures include:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap
- Keeping a distance from those who display symptoms
- Avoiding large crowds and enclosed spaces
- If you have to be at crowded places, wear a mask
The flu is contagious from at least a day before symptoms begin, and up to five days after.