Influenza, commonly called “the flu”, is a viral disease most often spread through the air when people exposed to the virus cough or sneeze
. There are three types of influenza viruses that affect humans, called Type A, B and C, which spread worldwide on a yearly basis and cause anywhere between three to five million cases of severe illness. The flu can be difficult to “treat” since it is a virus. Many doctors recommend rest and drinking water. However, there are other options, like a saline spray, which studies show have also helped.
How Does the Flu Spread?
The flu virus spreads in many ways, mostly through the air with a relatively small area of effect. Touching surfaces infected with the virus can also cause the disease to spread. Those infected with the flu virus are contagious both before symptoms occur and during the time they appear. Taking precautions against the flu is vital, especially in high-risk areas. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of the flu is of course washing your hands. Another less-known way is to wash the nose (one of the primary places germs come in and exit the body) using a saline nasal spray with xylitol.
It’s important to note that nearly one third of people with the flu are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t experience the symptoms of the disease while it’s in them. This is especially dangerous, as the flu virus can spread to other people without warning. Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sore throat
- Nasal Congestion
- Runny nose
Many of these symptoms are similar to those of the common cold that can make identifying the flu difficult in the early stages of the disease. Usually a fever combined with sore throat or coughing is a good indicator of the flu.
Severe symptoms usually abate within two to three days, while the virus can last in the body up to two weeks. Coughing can last the longest, often taking two weeks to subside.