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Brundall Medical Partnership

The Medical Centre

The Dales
Brundall
Norwich
Norfolk NR13 5RP
Tel: (01603) 712255
Open Mon-Fri 8.30-6.30

Influenza (often referred to as flu) is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, mouth, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs). There are three types of flu virus: A, B and C, with A and B responsible for most clinical illness.

 

Following infection, flu has a usual incubation period of one to three days. The disease is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Other symptoms include a cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and diarrhoea may occur. For otherwise healthy individuals, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with recovery normally within two to seven days.

 

A proportion of people infected may have very mild illness or no symptoms at all. These people may still infect others with flu. For those that become sick, the illness may be complicated by bronchitis or pneumonia (either from the virus itself or a secondary bacterial infection) and, in children, otitis media (ear infection).

 

In some rare cases, infection can cause cardiac problems, meningitis and/or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The risk of serious illness from influenza is higher amongst children under six months of age, older people and those with underlying health conditions such as respiratory or cardiac disease or immunosuppression.

 

Flu is passed from person to person through droplets created when someone with the infection sneezes or coughs. Infection can also be spread by contact with surfaces on which the virus has become deposited.

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