The flu is here! First symptoms, tests, vaccine, incubation period, infection, medicine… Know everything to get out of it quickly!
France is facing a strong epidemic of flu during’winter 2022-2023. This disease is very contagious. It affects approximately 2 to 6 million French people each year and will cause, on average, 10,000 deaths per year according to Public Health France. Influenza is different from the syndrome or “flu” condition that can be caused by many other respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus… What is flu symptoms ? The incubation period? That duration of illness ? Is she contagious ? What is treatments (natural or medicinal) to heal quickly? When should one be vaccinated? Our special file on influenza.
What is influenza?
Influenza is one acute respiratory infectionof viral origin, in other words due to a Influenza virus. It is a contagious and infectious disease that manifests itself in fever, cough, soreness, headache, chills… Influenza is subject to seasonal epidemics, generally observed during autumn and winter. It differs from a flu syndrome, which can be caused by many other respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus… Most of the time mild, flu can be severe in frail people, however.
What virus causes the flu?
Influenza viruses are mainly divided into two types: A and Bwhich divides itself into two subtypes (A(H3N2) and A(H1N1) pdm09) or genera (B/Victoria and B/Yamagata). Type A influenza virus circulates in many animal species (ducks, chickens, pigs, horses, seals, etc.). Influenza virus from B type circulate mainly in humans. Viruses A and B cause seasonal epidemics in humans, but only type A viruses have been responsible for pandemics to date, emphasizes Public Health France. In autumn 2022, A(H3N2) virus Circulates mainly in France.
What are the typical flu symptoms?
Every year, influenza epidemics can affect all age groups, but the most vulnerable are those children under two years of age, adults over 65 and people with certain chronic diseases. Early symptoms of the flu include:
- great fatigue,
- chills even when you are not cold,
- a dry, painful cough
- then comes the fever, which can rise to more than 39°C,
In all cases, in case of sudden deterioration or without improvement of the condition 72 hours after the first symptomsIt is essential see a doctor.
Usually during a flu is the cough dry and painful. Sometimes this dry cough turns into a wet cough. The cough can last up to 3 weeks or even longer. It is worrying if it is accompanied by persistent fever, difficulty breathing, change in skin color, or in the case of children, pauses in breathing and suffocation.
When should you get the flu shot?
Vaccination is recommended for people at risk and healthcare professionals and is the best way to protect against influenza and its complications. It is necessary 15 days between vaccination and the time when the body is protected against influenza. No need to wait for the first cold weather or the start of the epidemic to get vaccinated.
How long does a flu last?
A bad flu between 3 and 7 days (on average 5 days).
What is the incubation period for influenza?
“The incubation period (the time between the moment of illness and the appearance of symptoms) generally lasts between 24 and 48 hours, but it can be extended to 72 hoursremember Dr. Parneix. But the patient is contagious, even before the appearance of symptoms and this, during an average period of 6 days.“
Are you contagious when you have the flu? How long time ?
Influenza is a contagious disease. The patient can transfer it”even before the onset of symptoms and during an average period of 6 days” recalls our interlocutor.
To become infected with the flu virus, you must be in contact with someone who already has the flu. Pollution can occur in three ways:
- By plane : a sick person projects droplets of saliva into the air when he talks, coughs or sneezes. Millions of viruses are then in the air, ready to be inhaled and contaminate you.
- In case of close direct contact : a sick person shakes your hand or kisses you.
- Talk contact with affected objects of a sick person, for example a doorknob or a telephone.
- Cough at the bend of the elbow and cover your nose when you sneeze,
- Wash your hands with soap regularly throughout the day, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- Wipe your nose in a tissue and throw it in the bin, ideally closed with a lid,
- Bear a surgical mask if you are sick and you have to go to a closed and public place, it prevents contaminating others.
- that hydroalcoholic gel is also practical, but in the long run it can dry out the hands.
- Finally, remember to air the rooms regularly, several times a day: you will thus remove stagnant viruses in the air, through sneezing and breathing.
There is a quick diagnostic orientation test (BELIEVE) flu, attainable in the pharmacyat the doctor’s office or in a medical laboratory to screen for influenza A or B viruses (the most common types of viruses during seasonal epidemics). It is possible without a prescription and consists of a sample taken from the nose and must be performed inside 24-48 hours after the first symptoms appear suggest flu (sudden fever above 39°C, headache, body aches, sore throat, cough, extreme tiredness). Warning,”her sensitivity is low in adults, can be at less than 60% between 70 and 90% in children“Want to indicate HAS. Also at the end of December 2022 developed laboratories (AAZ, Roche or Toda Pharma) multiplex combined antigen test to detect influenza and Covid at the same time. In 15-30 minutes, the patient gets the result. Different types of samples can be used to perform these tests, the most common is nasopharyngeal inoculation. These tests are available over the counter at some pharmacies.
What are the treatments to treat the flu?
For flu-like symptoms:
- Contact the doctor quickly. He or she will be able to make the diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate medication.
- Take some paracetamol to reduce fever, soreness and pain.
- That vitamin C also sometimes recommended to combat fatigue. Similarly, certain foods are especially recommended to better fight fatigue.
- If necessary, you can supplement with one nasal decongestant and one cough suppressant for dry and persistent cough.
- Finally, it is necessary drink plenty and rest.
Should I take antibiotics to treat the flu?
“Influenza is caused by a virus and antibiotics are totally ineffective for the treatment of viral diseases, in addition they can harm the good bacteria that the body needs to defend itself against diseases.” answers Dr. Pierre Parneix.
What are the natural treatments for the flu?
Garlic, lemon, honey, thyme… Several natural solutions can help boost the immune system in the prevention or treatment of influenza.
influenza in children
To prevent your child from being infected with the flu virus, it is important to teach him to blow his nose in a disposable tissue, to cover his nose to his mouth when he sneezes or coughs. In any case, contact your pediatrician so that he can examine him and administer the most appropriate treatment, depending on the case, especially for fever.
To limit the seasonal influenza epidemic, it is important to take simple preventive measures on a daily basis, aimed at limiting the circulation of the influenza virus, especially in communities and on public transport, where it can be easily transmitted. For those around people with the flu, it is recommended that respect these few hygiene rules:
► Wash your hands regularly and systematically after every excursion and every contact with the sick person.
► Avoid close contact with the person with influenza and especially if you yourself are vulnerable or “exposed” (pregnant women, seniors, people suffering from a chronic disease or immunocompromised, small children, etc.)
► Washing on a regular basis hands with soap and water, or if you cannot do otherwise, with a hydro-alcoholic solution, especially after any contact with the patient and after each return home.
► Do not share objects such as glasses, cutlery and of course toothbrushes.
► Ventilate its interior every day between 10 and 15 minutes to renew the air and prevent the spread of viruses.
► Clean nests of insects such as door handles, remote controls, phone screens…
Thanks to Dr. Pierre Parneix, health worker and hospital doctor in public health (Bordeaux University Hospital).