All Cold, Flu and Sore Throat is not H1N1Dr.Anand Tiwari
Common cold is most often diagnosed by person himself. Most commonly occurs in winter. It is self limiting in most patient primary caused by viral infection and affects the nose, throat, sinuses and larynx (voice box).
Patient may develop symptoms in short incubation period within 2 days of viral infection.
Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, sore throat, headache and fever. Recovery of the person occurs within 7 to 10 days.
Any adult can get infection through air droplets from infected person or through touch of inanimate contaminated objects with secretions from infected person through touching hand and mouth. Out of 200 viral strain implicated to cause viral infection rhinovirus is most common.clinical severity of symptoms depends on the immunity of person rather than tissue destruction by virus itself.
Who should worry?
People at risk are those with weak immunity like diabetes, chronic disease state of lung or kidney, person on chemotherapy drugs, pregnant women, extremes of age, long term steroid therapy. Patients with these health problems may develop pneumonia and fatal severe symptoms.
What Is the cure?
Primary care for cold is handwashing, not touching eyes nose and mouth with unwashed hand, using mask when coming contact with sick person.paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain and headache.antibiotics should not be used
Flu symptoms are similar to cold however more severe and caused by Influenza. Unlike cold patient have less likely symptom of running nose and more complains of cough and fever. High risk patients with suspected influenza infection should consult a doctor who may assess and start on treatment with antiviral (Oseltemavir) commonly known as tamiflu.Admission to hospital may be required depending on severity of symptoms.
Severity categorization of Influenza infection (A,B and C)
Category A-mild fever with cough/sore throat with or without bodyache, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Symptomatic treatment and good supportive care.
Plenty of warm nourishing liquids, complete food intake, complete rest.
antiviral medication not required
Self isolation at home, reassess at 24 to 48 hours. any deterioration /failure to improve follow up with doctor.
Category B-b1. High grade fever with and severe sore throat
b2.Influenza like illness with co-morbid condition
- Pregnant women.
- Lung/heart/kidney/liver/neurological disease/blood disorders/diabetes/cancer/HIV/AIDS.
- On long term steroids or those with immunosupression due to drugs, radiation or HIV
- Children with predisposing risk factors like asthma
- Age more than 65 Years.
Doctor consultation: Symptomatic and supportive treatment and antiviral medication*
Oseltamivir to be started, Isolation at home and watch for progress, If failure to improve/breathlessness hospitalization
Influenza like illness with complains of breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness; fall in blood pressure, cyanosis, worsening underlying chronic condition.
In children influenza like illness and somnolence, high/persistent fever, inability to feed, convulsions, dyspnoea/respiratory distress etc.
Unlike category A and B H1N1 throat swab testing is required
Immediate hospitalization and start oseltamivir do not wait for test results
Intensive care support management will be required as per disease severity
Vaccination has proved difficult as virus may mutate rapidly.
High risk patient need to take vaccine yearly*.
It has a efficacy of 65% protection and reduces disease severity.
Those with egg allergy should consult doctor before vaccination.
Also Read: 10 Interesting Facts About The Human Heart
By: Dr.Anand Tiwari