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Flu as it is commonly known is one of the commonest ailments, although a proportion of illnesses – colds- are labelled as flu. Influenza is a viral disease that usually strikes between October and May. It is passed from one person to another through the air, and it lasts from three to five days and can be followed by fatigue for two or three weeks.
It often breaks out as an epidemic which quickly spreads from town to town and country to country. The outbreaks usually last for a period of four to six weeks in a specific area and then the virus is more intermittent.
The influenza virus is in fact a group of viruses of which there are various types/strains:
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Because there are so many strains of Flu doing the rounds they are often referred to by numbers for instance the one everyone knows at the moment is H5N1 strain which is affecting birds – Bird Flu – Avian Influenza - this is highly contagious to birds and like our range of viruses they can vary from mild flu to highly contagious flu with high death rate. H5N1 is contagious, and for our bird population it is a problem as the virus can remain in droppings for a long time. Our domestic flocks of chickens and turkeys are vulnerable due to the close proximity of their living conditions and it can be fatal for them. It has been circulating in other countries since 2003.
The reason there is concern is that the H5 / H7 / H9 – (These are called subtypes) have caused problems in humans, H7 and H9 have not caused as much of a problem as H5 is currently doing. There is no firm evidence that H5N1 is able to pass from person to person. However, concern remains that the virus might develop this ability. The concern is that the virus might develop this ability and that it might mix with human flu viruses to create a new virus.
The ability that the avian influenza has to change and alter is the reason for the fear of a new human flu pandemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is mounting evidence that the H5N1 strain has a unique capacity to jump the species barrier and cause severe disease, with high mortality, in people.
visit the Department of Health web site:
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You will find as I said that the worst of the symptoms will be over between three and five days, however you will feel exhausted and possibly even depressed after this and will need up to three weeks off to completely recover.
Flu makes everyone feel dreadful, but most people make a full recovery. Influenza does have a small mortality, especially in the very young, the very old, and those with poor immunity. If you are concerned about a relative or friend and symptoms have persisted do consult your G. P. as secondary infections can be present when the immune system has been under stress.
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Prevention is better than cure and for those who are in the high risk group Influenza vaccine is very effective in preventing the flu.
Please Note: The information provided here should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A medical practitioner should always be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions.
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