• Question: What are the effects of influenza virus in our body

    Asked by xamaj to George, Christina on 23 Jan 2017.
    • Photo: Christina Obiero

      Christina Obiero answered on 23 Jan 2017:

      Hi Xamaj, influenza virus is a type of virus that causes the infection called influenza or ‘flu’ or the ‘common cold’. This virus is highly contagious and is passed from one person to another as a droplet infection. This means that if you are near someone who has the ‘flu’ and the patient sneezes or coughs or if you touch objects that the person has touched after they cough or sneeze or blow their nose, then you can easily get the infection. Symptoms of infection by the influenza virus include fever, sneezing, coughing, running nose, blocked nose, generalized feeling of tiredness, muscle and joint aches, poor appetite.
      Like all viruses, infection caused by influenza virus has no cure. The virus usually clears from the body on its own. Management of a patient is mainly symptomatic meaning that the doctor will prescribe medication based on the symptoms one has e.g. if one has fever, headache, muscle aches, they would be given a pain killer/analgesic e.g. paracetamol or brufen. If one has a running nose, nasal blockage or sneezing, the doctor would prescribe for him/her an antihistamine e.g. piriton or cetirizine.
      Influenza virus tends to cause infection during certain times of the year hence infection is seasonal. Infection can be mild to severe. There are vaccines available against influenza virus but these need to be administered every year since the vaccine gives protection against infection for a year only. Vaccines are recommended before the flu season begins. In enya, these vaccines are only available in private hospitals.