Dr. Avinash S

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Reviewed by

Dr. Avinash S

Consultant – Pediatrician

Manipal Hospitals, Sarjapur Road

Seasonal Flu - Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Reviewed by:

Dr. Avinash S

Posted On: Jul 20, 2023

blogs read 5 Min Read

Seasonal Flu Symptoms: How to Get Rid of Seasonal Influenza

Seasonal flu or influenza as the name suggests, is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. The viruses characteristically cause exacerbation of respiratory tract symptoms such as cough, cold, sneezing, and fever. The influenza viruses circulate globally. Four types of influenza viruses are identified namely, type A, B, C, and D, among these type A and type B influenza cause seasonal epidemics of disease.

Seasonal Flu symptoms

Seasonal influenza often presents as acute or sudden onset of fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, generalized muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and severe malaise (feeling unwell). Fever and other symptoms may resolve within a week and often without requiring any medical attention. But, the cough can be severe and can last over 2 weeks.

Influenza can cause severe illness or death, particularly in people at high risk. Currently, there is no solid data available discussing the effects of seasonal influenza epidemics in developing countries. As per studies, in developing countries, about 99% of deaths in children under 5 years of age are associated with influenza-related lower respiratory tract infections.

People of all age groups can be affected by influenza. However, studies have identified certain vulnerable groups that are at higher risk of developing influenza than others. The high-risk groups include:

  • Pregnant women

  • Children under 59 months. Consult with the best child specialist in Sarjapur Road to know more about seasonal influenza symptoms for children and how to get rid of these symptoms. 

  • The elderly or geriatric population.

  • Individuals with comorbidities (chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, renal diseases, pulmonary, liver, or hematologic diseases, and other metabolic or neurodevelopmental diseases).

  • Individuals with compromised immunity (such as HIV patients, individuals diagnosed with malignancies, or those receiving chemotherapy or steroids).

  • Healthcare workers (since they are constantly exposed to the virus while caring for the infected patients, furthermore the healthcare workers may also become carriers and increase the risk of spreading influenza, particularly to vulnerable individuals).

Can Seasonal Influenza Be Easily Transmitted?

Seasonal influenza spreads easily and has an incubation period (the time taken for the illness to show after viral contact) is about 2 days, but ranges from one to four days. In geographical areas with temperate climates, seasonal influenza spread is mainly seen during the winters, whereas, in tropical regions, influenza may cause irregular outbreaks as they circulate throughout the year.

The viral transmission primarily occurs through droplets released through the cough or sneezes of an infected person. The virus-containing droplets are dispersed into the air and can spread up to one meter, and infect others when they breathe these droplets in. Flu transmission is more rapid in crowded areas including schools and nursing homes. The virus can also be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with influenza virus and then touching the face (particularly mouth and nose). 

To prevent transmission, people should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and wash their hands regularly.

Diagnosis of Seasonal Influenza

The cases of human influenza are generally diagnosed clinically by physical examination and correlating the symptoms. Laboratory investigations such as RT- PRT-PPRT-PCRsed for confirming the influenza virus.

Treatment of Seasonal Influenza

Patients with uncomplicated seasonal influenza:

For normal patients who do not belong to the high-risk group, symptomatic treatment generally suffices. When symptomatic, these patients are advised to stay home to avoid or minimize the risk of infecting others in the community. Symptomatic treatment usually focuses on relieving symptoms of influenza such as fever and malaise. Patients are advised to monitor their symptoms and seek medical assistance in case of worsening of the symptoms.

Patients that fall under the high-risk group (as discussed above) or those with severe or complicated illnesses are treated with antivirals in addition to symptomatic treatment at the earliest possible.

Patients experiencing severe illnesses or clinical progression of the illness associated with suspected or confirmed influenza virus infection should be treated more aggressively with antiviral drugs

  • Neuraminidase inhibitors such as oseltamivir are generally the choice of drugs and are ideally administered within 48 hours following symptom onset.

  • The standard recommended treatment regimen is for a minimum of 5 days; but can be extended until satisfactory clinical improvement is achieved.

Tips to Prevent Seasonal Influenza

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the disease. Several safe and effective vaccines have been in use for over 60 years. These vaccines need to be administered annually as the immunity from these vaccinations wanes over time. used throughout the world.

Among healthy and non-risk groups of adults, the influenza vaccines are effective in providing protection, even when the vaccine viruses vary from the circulating viruses However, among the elderly population where the natural immunity is generally low, or in immunocompromised individuals the vaccines may not be effective in preventing the illness but they can reduce the severity of disease or associated complications and deaths. Vaccination is particularly important for all people under the high-risk category and for those who live with or care for people at high risk.

WHO recommends annual vaccination for:

  • Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.

  • Infants and paediatric age group (age 6 months to 5 years).

  • Elderly or geriatric individuals (age 65 years and above).

  • Individuals with comorbidities.

  • Health-care workers


  • What are the symptoms of seasonal flu?

The most common symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and chills. Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhoea.

  • What can I do to protect myself from seasonal flu?

To help protect yourself from the spread of the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing.

  • Stay home from work/school if you are unwell.

  • Get a flu vaccine each year.

  • Who is at risk for serious complications from seasonal flu?

Children below 5 years, elderly people, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic health conditions, like Asthma, heart disease, diabetes, lung and kidney disease, etc., are at a higher risk of complications from seasonal influenza.

Book an appointment now to get the finest treatment at the best infectious disease hospital in Sarjapur Bangalore

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