Last updated:11-11-2008
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Definition and causes


I. Nasal cavity, II. Mellemøre, III. pharynx, IV. trachea, V. bronchus, VI. lungs

Influenza is contagious via droplet infection. The virus penetrates through the nose and mouth and affects only the upper respiratory tract (nose, mouth and throat). Later the virus can spread through air pipe to the bronchi and lungs.
Influenza is a common disease. It is caused by a virus and spread by dråbeinfektion. Smitstoffet get into the air by coughing, and newly and keep floating in small væskedråber. It comes in the upper respiratory tract through the nose and mouth and can spread to the lungs. Influenza can affect all ages and both sexes equally frequently. The incubation period (time from infection to the first symptoms) is 1-3 days.


The influenza virus exists in three versions, type A, B and C, where type A and B are the ones we usually become ill. They are highly contagious and occurs frequently in epidemics that occur unexpectedly, usually in winter and / or spring. Sometimes it can take as long as 5-6 years between the very large epidemics, while other years can appear 2-3 various epidemics on a single winter.

A really severe epidemic means that virtually all people within its range affected in some degree.

Influenzaepidemierne die out of themselves, because an individual who has had the infection, in principle, be immune to the virus, which has caused the infection. Both influenza A and B, however, an ability to often mutate, thus the virus changed a bit, and a new subtype occur. It is the basis of that we are not immune to the disease influenza, and one can hit every time there is a new epidemic.


Historical epidemics

New types of influenza developed steadily and spread around the world of infectious agents, who travel from continent to continent. Particularly bad influenza outbreaks usually are named after their origin. They speak so on the Asian flu, Hong Kong, influenza, etc. The Spanish sickness was an example of an extremely aggressive influenza virus, which devastated large parts of the world in 1918, with over 50 million deaths to follow (including around. 14,000 Danes) . A similar influenza virus is the phenyl Avian flu , Which fortunately has not yet shown a tendency to infect between humans, why not spread like an epidemic.



Symptoms of influenza

Many mild viral infections fejltolkes most often by non-professionals as influenza. Actually influenza generally give the right strong symptoms. Among the earliest is:


  • Chills.

  • High fever, up to 40 degrees.

  • Headache.

  • Myalgia (especially in the small muscles in behind the eyes).

  • Joint pain (soreness in the arms and legs and the back).

  • Nysen and possible.

  • Sore throat.

These symptoms are often accompanied by dry cough and sometimes chest pain. Hosten lead later that hosted the mucus up, and you can also get snue.


Select and complications

Feberen usually disappear after 3-5 days, but the sick feeling weak and generally poor in a few days. Complications are rare, and it is usually quite healthy during 1-2 weeks. The weakness, however, can stay for several weeks.


The main complication of influenza is that the infection spread to the lower respiratory tract and causes acute bronchitis or pneumonia . Such complications are not common. They can occur in young children, the elderly, heavy smokers, diabetics and people suffering from a chronic lung disease. Deaths caused by influenza is very rare and seen only in young children, the elderly or debilitated people.



Get influenzasymptomer, one should stay home and rest, the temperature returns to normal. We can take general pain pills, with paracetamol or aspirin, to have fever to go down. It is important to drink plenty of water.


Health care is not necessary except for the groups, which easily get out of complications (see above). If the fever does not disappear during 3-4 days, or if you are affected by respiratory problems, despite the fact that it is based, should be a doctor.

If you are the only one in the same neighbourhood, which has influenzasymptomer, it is also a doctor. An isolated case with these symptoms suggest rather on a different disease, for example. mononukleose or fungal infection in the lungs .


Treatment of influenza

As mentioned influenza usually does not require treatment, and the disease moves by itself (see the above measures). There are currently active medicines in tablet form, which attacks both influenza type A and B. The funds are prescription, and if treatment begins as soon as possible (within the first 2 days), may reduce the duration of the disease in 1-2 days. The tablets are still relatively expensive.


If tilstøder complications such as bacterial pneumonia the contrast antibiotics, and in some cases require hospitalisation at the hospital.


Prevention of influenza

We have developed vaccines against certain types of influenza viruses. The protection is however short-lived, and vaccination therefore mainly used to protect persons who, due to age or poor general condition would be particularly affected by the infection. You have to develop new vaccines each year, as influenza viruses, as mentioned constantly emerging in different forms.

People over 65 years can be vaccinated free of charge from their doctor.


See also: Cold





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