Influenza – an acute respiratory viral infection caused by viruses of group A, B or C, which occurs with severe toxicosis, fever, lesions of the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Influenza often causes complications, including death, causing epidemics.
There are three groups of the virus:
- group A with numerous strains. It has a severe course, a high percentage of complications, it mutates strongly.
- group B – relatively unreliable, rarely gives complications, strongly mutates.
- group C – proceeds relatively easily, practically does not mutate, occurs mainly in children.
Causes and mechanism of development
Influenza virus belongs to the group of ARVI, has a similar distribution, seasonality and course, but has more pronounced clinical manifestations, course and outcomes.
Influenza is prone to epidemic spread. The source of infection is sick people in the period of incubation and height. Infection occurs through airborne droplets, from the moment of infection to clinical manifestations it takes from 6 hours to 2 days. Penetrates the virus through the mucous membranes of the eyes, respiratory tract. Less commonly, infection occurs through general hygiene items and dishes.
The onset of the flu is acute, with severe malaise, a rise in temperature to high numbers, sometimes up to 39-40 ° C. In the beginning, there is also a strong chill, intoxication, catarrhal phenomena (redness, sore throat).
There is a severe headache, with localization in the forehead and nose, aggravated by eye movement. There is a strong weakness, muscle aches, pain in the lower back and joints, loss of appetite with nausea. Fever persists up to 3-5 days.
There are also runny nose and sore throat, dryness and tickling, dry cough without sputum, pain in the eyes, their redness, tearing, hoarseness and congestion of the ears.
Also, with severe flu, hemorrhagic manifestations can occur – vasodilation on the sclera, minor hemorrhages, nosebleeds, redness of the face against the background of general pallor, hemorrhages on the skin in the form of small dots.
In severe cases, there is a fever over 40 ° C, sharp headaches with vomiting, shortness of breath noisy breathing, oblivion and delirium, impaired consciousness, convulsions, hemorrhagic rash on the skin.
Especially severe flu occurs in children of the first two years, debilitated patients, pregnant women and the elderly.
The basis of the diagnosis of influenza – a typical clinic with an indication of epidemic data. Confirms the diagnosis of influenza smear imprint from the throat and nose with the release of the virus strain. In the period of the flu epidemic, the diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical data.
Common influenza treatment guidelines are similar to treatment. ARVI , but in addition to that, antiviral drugs are indicated – rimantadine, oseltamivir , amantadine , zanamivir .
Bed rest, antipyretic drugs, excessive drinking, diet, interferon preparations, symptomatic therapy according to indications are shown.
In severe cases, specific anti-influenza immunoglobulin is indicated.
- Amantadine and rimantadine are only effective against influenza A virus, provided treatment is started in the first 48 hours after the first signs of the disease appear. The drugs cause shortening of the febrile period, weakening of the manifestations of the flu. In recent years, resistance of the causative agent of influenza to rimantadine has been noted.
- Tamiflu has established itself as a highly effective and safe drug. In clinical studies it has been shown that the drug penetrates well into the main foci of infection, including the lungs, middle ear, sinuses, and is characterized by good tolerance by both children and adults of all age groups. The effectiveness of tamiflu largely depends on the timing of its admission – at the start of treatment in the first 12 hours after the onset of fever, the average duration of the flu is reduced by 3 days compared to the more recently started therapy. Early treatment also led to the rapid disappearance of intoxication, a significant reduction in the duration of the fever and the severity of the flu.
- Anti-influenza immunoglobulin 0.2 ml / kg (for the treatment and prevention of influenza in young children).
- Vasoconstrictor remedies topically to facilitate nasal breathing. Naphazoline – adults 1-3 drops of 0.05% p pa into each nostril every 4-6 hours or xylometazoline in each half of the nose of 1-3 drops 0.1% p pa p 1-3 / day.. . (adult) or 1 drop of 0.1% pa p 1 p. / day. (children from 2 to 12 years).
- Vitamins (ascorbic acid, rutoside ).
In uncomplicated cases, complete recovery occurs. Complicated flu can lead to death.
Flu vaccination is a way to prevent infection. It is shown to all, especially risk groups – the elderly, children, pregnant women, people of social professions.
Vaccination is carried out annually, before the start of the epidemic season, from September-October, to form a strong immunity at the time of the epidemic. Regular vaccination increases the effectiveness of protection and the production of antibodies to influenza.
There are three types of vaccines.
- All-virus , they can be both live and inactivated (killed). Indicated for vaccination of adults and healthy people, have an inexpensive cost, are effective in terms of the formation of immunity, but with the introduction give a high percentage of side effects, often cause fever, malaise and headaches.
- Subunit vaccines are vaccines that contain not complete viral particles, but only fragments of a molecule to which the immune system forms immunity to influenza. They cost more, but they are much better tolerated than whole-virus . However, it is worth remembering that the virus has the specifics of mutation, and vaccines may lose their effectiveness.
- Split vaccines – contain fragments of killed influenza viruses as their unstable and mutated membrane, and from the whole and constant core of the virus. They are the most expensive, but today the most effective, give the minimum number of side effects and have the highest efficiency.
Subunit and split vaccines can be used in children, debilitated patients and pregnant women. They are applied intramuscularly or subcutaneously. Vaccination is especially effective in the period before the start of the epidemic, from September to early December. Further vaccination is also applicable. But additionally, flu prevention with rimantadine is indicated.
With the introduction of the vaccine may be local (edema and redness at the injection site) and general reactions (malaise, drowsiness, mild temperature).
Prohibited vaccination in acute infections, exacerbation of chronic diseases and allergies to egg white, with previous negative reactions to vaccination.
In addition to vaccination, there is another preventive measure against influenza – a refusal to visit public places during an epidemic. Hand washing, regular washing and moistening of the nasal mucosa, rinsing mouth, taking immunostimulants and high doses of vitamin C.
In the period of epidemics, it is important to have good nutrition, warm clothes for the prevention of hypothermia, regular outdoor exercise and exercise. Good rest and sleep, quitting smoking and alcohol, and stress prevention are needed.
In rooms with an abundance of people, wearing a mask, applying oxolinic or viferon ointment on the threshold of the nose, instilling grippferon into the nose can help.
Prophylactic administration of arbidol, rimantadine, anaferon, oseltamivir is shown.