Flu and The Warning Signs
Flu isn’t the same as a cold. It brings on high temperatures, and can be dangerous if it strikes someone with heart disease, chronic lung disease or diabetes, or who is over 65.
Consult the doctor if the flu attacks anyone in your family who is in one of these categories.
The warning signs
• Aching muscles and back.
• High temperature with a feeling of cold.
• General weakness.
• Coughing, and pain behind the breastbone which is made worse by coughing.
• Nasal catarrh and sneezing.
What you can do
• Put the patient to bed.
• Give extra drinks to replace fluid loss caused by fever.
• Give paracetamol in the doses recommended on the packet.
• To help ease coughing and chest pain, give hot lemon-and-honey drinks or a cough mixture.
• Do not allow the patient to return to work or school until the main symptoms are over – usually in about three to seven days. Unnecessary effort will prolong illness and increase the risk of pneumonia. It will also spread the disease.
How long will it last?
The worst will be over in two or three days, but aching muscles, headache and fever may go on for a week.
General weakness may continue for a few weeks more, and the patient may suffer from depression.
PREVENTING AN ATTACK OF FLU
Flu epidemics occur most winters. Anyone who is over 65, or suffers from heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, should be immunised in September or October, But if an epidemic is caused by a new strain of virus, immunisation may not be effective, as vaccines can only be produced against known viruses.