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Influenza/Flu: Symptoms, Causes and Complications

Influenza in India can be Dangerous

Dr. JC Suri talks about, Complete awareness of Influenza/Flu, Its Symptoms as well as Cure

A viral infection known as influenza/flu affects your respiratory system, including your nose, throat, and lungs.

Although influenza is frequently referred to as the flu, it differs from stomach “flu” viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea.

The influenza virus, which causes the flu, is a common respiratory ailment that can occasionally spread to the lungs as well as the nose and throat.

Mild to severe illness and occasionally even death might result from it. Getting vaccinated annually is the greatest way to prevent the flu.


Causes of Influenza/flu

Droplets of influenza viruses are released into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. You can either directly inhale the droplets or take up the bacteria from a surface, such as a phone or a computer keyboard, and then transmit it to your eyes, nose, or mouth.

People who have the virus are most likely contagious from a day or so before symptoms emerge to a week or so after they do. Children and those with compromised immune systems may spread germs for a little while longer.

New strains of influenza viruses frequently emerge as a result of ongoing evolution. Your body has already produced antibodies to combat that particular strain of the virus if you’ve previously experienced influenza.

If future influenza viruses are similar to those you’ve encountered before, either by having the disease or by getting vaccinated, those antibodies may prevent infection or lessen its severity. But antibody levels may decline over time.

Also, antibodies against influenza viruses you’ve encountered in the past may not protect you from new influenza strains that can be very different viruses from what you had before.

Influenza/Flu Symptoms

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. For most people, the flu resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can be deadly.

People at higher risk of developing flu complications include:

  • Young children under age 5, and especially those under 6 months.
  • Adults older than age 65
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks after giving birth.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • Native Americans
  • People who have chronic illnesses, such as asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
  • People who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.

When to see a doctor

Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often don’t need to see a Lungs doctor.
If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away. Taking antiviral drugs may reduce the length of your illness and help prevent more serious problems.

If you have emergency signs and symptoms of the flu, get medical care right away. For adults, emergency signs and symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Ongoing dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Worsening of existing medical conditions
  • Severe weakness or muscle pain

5 Risk factors of Influenza

  1. Age: Seasonal influenza tends to target children 6 months to 5 years old, and adults 65 years old or older.
  2. Living or working conditions: People who live or work in facilities with many other residents, such as nursing homes or military barracks, are more likely to develop the flu. People who are staying in the hospital also are at higher risk.
  3. Weakened immune system: Cancer treatments, anti-rejection drugs, long-term use of steroids, organ transplants, blood cancer, or HIV/AIDS can weaken the immune system. This can make it easier to catch the flu and may also increase the risk of developing complications.
  4. Chronic illnesses: Chronic conditions, including lung diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, nervous system diseases, metabolic disorders, airway abnormality, and kidney, liver, or blood disease, may increase the risk of influenza complications.
  5. Obesity: People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more have an increased risk of flu complications.


What are the complication that can occur, if you are suffering with influenza flu?

If you’re young and healthy, the flu usually isn’t serious. Although you may feel miserable while you have it, the flu usually goes away in a week or two with no lasting effects. But children and adults at high risk may develop complications that may include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma flare-ups
  • Heart problems
  • Ear infections
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome


The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone age 6 months or older. The flu vaccine can reduce your risk of the flu and its severity and lower the risk of having serious illness from the flu and needing to stay in the hospital.

Note: Do not consider JC SURI Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on JC Suri. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately.

MONSOON diseases and prevention


Be cautious this monsoon

The monsoon has begun. We frequently forget some of the dangers involved with this great season, dangers that can create a wide range of health issues for us and our loved ones, as we celebrate by splashing and leaping into puddles.
The danger of illness is greater during the monsoon than during any other time of year because the high air moisture content is favorable for the growth of bacteria and viruses. Let’s examine the dangers we face throughout this season and how we can be safe.

Monsoon diseases have 3 mediums of transmission:


Rainwater is the purest form of water but due to pollutants, it picks up from the atmosphere, and the unhygienic methods used to store and distribute it makes it unsuitable. Therefore, exposure to such water places us at the risk of contracting diseases like:
⦁ Typhoid
⦁ Jaundice
⦁ Hepatitis A
⦁ Cholera


The majority of contagious diseases are spread through the air. Overly damp air during the monsoons may promote bacterial and fungal growth, leading to a variety of skin and hair problems. Infections that can be spread through microscopic germs through the air during the monsoon include:
⦁ Common Cold
⦁ Influenza


The monsoon season brings heavy rains that can cause stagnant water to build up and serve as the ideal mosquito breeding environment. In consequence, this promotes the spread of illnesses like:
⦁ Dengue
⦁ Malaria
⦁ Chikungunya

MONSOON diseases and prevention

Common diseases and prevention-

Influenza (Cold and Flu):

The common cold is one of the most commonly occurring health sicknesses during the monsoon season in India. It is a highly contagious disease due to the spread of the virus in the air which infects the upper respiratory tract and thus affects the nose and the throat.

Symptoms involve

Runny or stuffy nose, body ache, throat irritation, soreness, and fever. It is always advisable to consult a physician and get the required
The best way to prevent the common cold is to have a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet regular which will develop the immune system of the body and improves the body’s resistance.


“Cholera” is another caused by bacteria that are most prevalent and devastating during the monsoon. This illness is brought on by tainted food, water, and unsanitary living circumstances. Severe diarrhea with watery stools, or “rice-water stools,” and vomiting, which results in an instant loss of fluids and muscle cramping, are common cholera symptoms. Diarrhea that is this bad can quickly cause electrolyte imbalance and serious dehydration.


Another waterborne bacterial infection called “typhoid” is brought on by the Salmonella bacteria. Typhoid causes gut ulcers, which induce fever. This illness is brought on by eating or drinking food or water that has been tainted with an infected person’s feces. The Widal test and any stool, bone marrow, or blood cultures are used to diagnose patients.
Yes, it would be sensible to avoid the most terrifying rainy season infections by avoiding horrifyingly unclean roadside cafes.
Long-lasting high fever, excruciating abdominal pain, and headaches are all signs of the illness. Vomiting is also a frequent symptom. The worst aspect is that, even after a patient is cured, the disease’s infection may still be present in the gall bladder.
Preventive measures include providing clean drinking water, better sanitation, and better hand washing.
Highly infectious & communicable disease that spreads through contaminated food and water during the monsoon season. Poor hygiene and sanitation is the main cause of Typhoid Fever. Common symptoms are fever, headache, sore throat & abdominal pain.

Hepatitis A:

The hepatitis A virus, which causes hepatitis A, is a highly contagious liver ailment. It is a waterborne viral infection that is typically brought on by eating or drinking food that has been infected by the virus, which can also be transferred by flies. Consuming produce or other foods that have been contaminated during handling can transmit an infection. The virus-induced liver inflammation that is a direct result of this disease is a symptom.
Symptoms include jaundice (yellow eyes and skin, dark urine), stomach pain, loss of appetite, Nausea, Fever, Diarrhoea, and Fatigue.
Blood tests are used to detect the presence of hepatitis A in your body.
Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A


Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. It is spread by what’s known as the tiger mosquito (Aedes Aegypti), which has black and white stripes and typically bites early in the morning or at dawn. Dengue goes by other names, including “break-bone fever.
Symptoms of dengue fever include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, exhaustion, and rash.
A complication of dengue fever is called Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). It is a specific syndrome that tends to affect children under 10 years of age. This complication of dengue causes abdominal pain, hemorrhage (bleeding), and circulatory collapse (shock).
There are no specific antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat it. For typical dengue, the treatment is concerned with the relief of the symptoms and signs.
It is a mosquito-borne disease; symptoms include high-grade fever, rash & headache. The control measure of Dengue Fever requires the elimination of mosquito breeding places. The tests which can be done are CBC, Dengue NS1 Antigen, and Dengue IgM.

Preventive measures

-As it’s transmitted via mosquitoes, one should wear a strong insect repellent containing DEET to prevent getting bitten.
-People should also wear full sleeve clothing when out during the day.
– It is important to remember that the dengue mosquito usually bites only in the daytime and breeds in clean, fresh water. So any water accumulation should be avoided.


Malaria is one of the most prevalent illnesses linked to the monsoon and is brought on by certain mosquito species that breed in contaminated water. During the rainy season, there is an issue with waterlogging, which creates ideal conditions for mosquito breeding. The female Anopheles mosquito is the carrier of this disease. Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum, the most dangerous type of malaria known as cerebral malaria. Other forms of malaria are P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malaria
Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests.
It is characterized by fever, body ache, chills, and sweating. If untreated, it can lead to complications like jaundice, severe anemia, or even liver and kidney failure. Malaria is treated with antimalarial medications successfully.
Maximum cases of Malarial Fever are seen in monsoons. Mosquitoes are responsible for transmission. Rain provides opportunities for the breeding of mosquitoes in water-logged areas. Symptoms range from mild to severe, like fever with chills, headache, jaundice, severe exhaustion, and fluctuating state of consciousness. The tests which can be done are Malarial Parasite (MP) Smear and Malarial Parasite (MP) Antigen.

Preventive measures –
⦁ Take an antimalarial drug as a precautionary measure in mosquito-prone areas.
⦁ Also, take measures to prevent mosquito bites such as wearing full sleeve clothing.
⦁ Application of anti-repellent mosquito creams and Electronic mosquito repellent devices can be used during the monsoon season to avoid mosquitoes at home.
⦁ Accumulation of dirty water must be kept in check to prevent malaria mosquito breeding.
⦁ Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are highly effective in preventing malaria in your neighborhood and can reduce the breeding of mosquitos also.


Viral fever:

Viral refers to any fever brought on by a virus. A viral fever frequently brought on by a sudden change in weather is marked by exhaustion, chills, body pains, and fever. Contagious droplets in the air or direct touch with contaminated secretions are the two main ways the sickness spreads. A viral fever typically lasts 3 to 7 days, with the first three days being the most severe throughout that time.
In general, antihistamines, decongestants, and antipyretic medications are advised for the treatment of side effects and symptoms using over-the-counter medications in conjunction with a doctor. In most cases, viral illnesses are self-limiting and don’t require antibiotics unless secondary infection occurs.

Some Preventive measures –

⦁ One must ensure that they do not get wet in the rain or stay in wet clothes for a long period
⦁ Wash their hands often,
⦁ Boost their immunity by eating Vitamin C-rich foods and green leafy vegetables. They must also keep a distance from an infected person.


During the monsoon season, gastroenteritis and food poisoning are quite prevalent, and excessive humidity encourages the growth of pathogenic germs. In general, gastroenteritis symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. As the sickness progresses, a fever may appear, and one may experience malaise and weakness.
A bland diet of rice, curds, and fruits like bananas and apples is advised in addition to maintaining constant hydration. Coconut water or rice kanji water are also effective hydration remedies. ORS is typically advised.

Preventive measures:
⦁ Try and avoid eating raw food like salads because it is difficult to ascertain whether they have been washed, cleaned, and stored at the right temperature
⦁ Avoid roadside food which may be made in contaminated water and trigger diarrhea.

Prevention is better than cure:

Some measures to ensure that monsoons become an enjoyable experience without hampering health.
⦁ One must drink only clean water and use boiled water or water purifiers.
⦁ One should change their hand towels after a day’s use.
⦁ One should cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
⦁ Use mosquito repellents and nets (dengue-transmitting mosquitoes usually bite during the daytime; either early morning or late evening).
⦁ One should keep their wet and soggy clothes or shoes away from dry garments.
⦁ Avoid eating out and consume as much fresh food as possible.
⦁ Drink warm water every two hours and carry home-boiled water while traveling.
⦁ Avoid visiting crowded places such as theatres or exhibitions.
⦁ Use hand sanitizers while traveling.
⦁ Cover your nose while traveling on a bike/while seated next to the window in a bus or train.
⦁ Avoid getting wet in the rain.
⦁ To keep in mind: Avoid self-medication

So, here are some things you can do to stay safe in the monsoon:

Because of the unsanitary environment and lack of adherence to fundamental preventive measures, there is a very significant risk of contracting numerous diseases throughout the monsoon season. Many of these monsoon illnesses go undetected until they develop unfavorable side effects. Because of this, early disease detection and treatment during the rainy season might mean the difference between life and death. You should be aware of the following frequent illnesses that are very common during this time of year. It is also advisable to be aware of the steps that you and your family can take to prevent these infections.

⦁ Keep yourself hydrated at all times – ensure you drink only boiled water, and avoid drinking anything outside
⦁ Follow a strict personal hygiene routine at all times to avoid fungal infections
⦁ Wear full-sleeved and light clothes to protect your skin.
⦁ Eat a balanced diet and keep your immune system strong.
⦁ Consume freshly-washed, boiled vegetables, reduce your intake of fats, oils, and sodium, and avoid dairy products as they can contain microorganisms that are harmful to your health.


what is Pulmonary embolism


What is pulmonary embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs. Pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that migrate to the lungs from deep veins in the legs or, in rare cases, veins in other sections of the body (deep vein thrombosis).
Because the clots impede blood flow to the lungs, pulmonary embolism is life-threatening. On the other hand, prompt treatment dramatically reduces the risk of death. You can avoid pulmonary embolism by taking care to avoid blood clots in your legs.

 what is Pulmonary embolism


Depending on how much of your lung is affected, the size of the clots, and if you have underlying lung or heart problems, pulmonary embolism symptoms can vary greatly.

The following are some of the most common indications and symptoms:


  • Breathing problems- This ailment usually occurs out of nowhere and worsens with exertion.
  • Chest Pain- You may feel as if you’re experiencing a heart attack. When you take a deep breath, the pain is typically severe and intense, preventing you from taking a deep breath. When you cough, bend, or squat, you can also feel it.
  • Cough- Sputum may be bloody or blood-streaked as a result of the cough.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeats


 what is Pulmonary embolism


Pulmonary embolism occurs when a clump of material, most commonly a blood clot, becomes lodged in an artery in your lungs. DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a condition in which blood clots form in the legs’ deep veins (DVT).

Pulmonary embolism frequently involves several clots. Each clogged artery robs parts of the lung of oxygen and nutrients, leading them to die. The medical name for this is pulmonary infarction. As a result, your lungs will have a harder time giving oxygen to the rest of your body.

Blood artery blockages can be caused by a variety of factors other than blood clots, including:

  • Fat from a shattered long bone’s marrow
  • A section of a tumor
  • Bubbles of air



  • Smoking– Tobacco smoking predisposes some persons to blood clot formation for unknown reasons.
  • Being overweight is a problem- Blood clots are more likely in people who are overweight.
  • Pregnancy- Blood flow from the legs can be slowed by the weight of the baby pressing on veins in the pelvic. When blood slows or pools, clots are more likely to form.



  • Heart disease- Clot development is more prevalent in those with cardiovascular illness, particularly heart failure.
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)- People who have severe symptoms of COVID-19 have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism.
  • Cancer- Tumors of the brain, ovary, pancreas, colon, stomach, lung, and kidney, as well as cancers that have spread, can increase the risk of blood clots, which is exacerbated by chemotherapy. Women who take tamoxifen or raloxifene and have a personal or family history of breast cancer are at an increased risk of blood clots.
  • Surgery- One of the most common causes of blood clots is surgery. As a result, anticoagulant medicine may be prescribed before and after major surgery, such as joint replacement.




Preventing clots in the deep veins in your legs (deep vein thrombosis) will help prevent pulmonary embolism. For this reason, most hospitals are aggressive about taking measures to prevent blood clots, including:

  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants)- People at risk of clotting, as well as people admitted to the hospital with medical illnesses like heart attack, stroke, or cancer complications, are frequently given these drugs before and after an operation.
  • Compression stockings-  Compression stockings apply constant pressure to your legs, assisting your veins and leg muscles in moving blood more efficiently. They provide a safe, easy, and low-cost method of preventing blood stagnation during and after general surgery.
  • Leg elevation- Elevating your legs as much as possible, especially at night, might be very beneficial. Blocks or books can be used to raise the bottom of your bed 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm).
  • Physical activity- Moving as soon as possible after surgery will help you avoid a pulmonary embolism and speed up your recovery. This is one of the key reasons your nurse may encourage you to get up and move even though you are in pain at the surgical incision site.
  • Pneumatic compression- This therapy uses thigh-high or calf-high cuffs that inflate and deflate automatically every few minutes to massage and constrict your legs’ veins and enhance blood flow.