Cold and Flu
- Common cold
- Types of flu
- The human immune system
- Tips for preventing colds and flus
- Influenza treatments
|The common cold is an acute infection of the throat and nasal passages. It may be caused by several different viruses, the most common of which are rhinoviruses. The term 'common cold' refers to a set of symptoms, rather than a specific disease. Mild influenza may have similar symptoms to the common cold.|
For more information, see Common Cold.
|Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by the influenza viruses, which can be classified as type A, B, or C. Influenza is different from the common cold in that it causes a more severe illness, with fever, headache, significant fatigue and muscle aches. It is less likely to cause sneezing or a 'blocked nose' with thick nasal discharge.|
For more information, see Influenza.
Avian influenza (bird flu)
|Avian influenza, or bird flu, is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. There are several types of avian influenza. Those that cause infection and even death in humans are called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Affected people are thought to have caught bird flu from direct contact with infected poultry.|
For more information, see Avian Influenza.
Swine influenza (swine flu)
|Swine influenza or swine flu, more correctly named H1N1 influenza A, contains a mixture of genetic information from viruses that normally infect pigs in Europe and Asia as well as from viruses which normally affect bird and human hosts. It is believed that this virus spreads mainly from person to person via coughing or sneezing by infected people.|
For more information, see Swine Influenza.
The human immune system
|The purpose of the immune system is to act as the body's defence against possible harm from toxins, bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. The human immune system is divided into two broad groups, called the acquired immune system and the innate immune system.|
For more information, see Human Immune System.
Acquired immune system
|The acquired immune system is responsible for the destruction of foreign particles once they have entered the body. During the first exposure to a foreign particle, the acquired immune system 'learns' how to attack and destroy it. A response to subsequent exposures can then be made more quickly and with greater force.|
For more information, see Acquired Immune System.
Innate immune system
|The innate immune system includes those parts of the immune system that work no matter what is causing damage to the body, and does not need a lot of preparation. The major defences of the innate immune system are those that stop the infection from getting into the body in the first place.|
For more information, see Innate Immune System.
Tips to prevent colds and flus
|Winter brings with it the dreaded season for colds and flus. For most people, colds and flus are self-limiting and resolve within a few days. But for some people, there is a high risk of developing flu-related complications that could be fatal. Some simple common sense precautions can reduce the risk of acquiring an infection.|
For more information, see Tips to Prevent Colds and Flus.
|Flu vaccines are products given to people so that their immune systems are better able to recognise flu (influenza) infection, and therefore has a better chance of fighting it off. Flu vaccines work by exposing the immune system to tiny amounts of the inactivated flu virus, causing it to produce flu-fighting antibodies.|
For more information, see Influenza Vaccination.
Video: preventing flu
|Doctor Joe Kosterich discusses ways to prevent catching the flu.|
Watch the video Preventing Flu.
Video: Treating flu
|Dr Joe Kosterich discusses how to know you have a flu and how flus are different from colds, and how to treat the flu.|
Watch the video Treating Flu.
|Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is used to treat or prevent influenza in selected adults and children aged over 12 months. Tamiflu reduces the occurrence of complications associated with influenza infection, such as pneumonia. Treatment results in shortening of symptom duration by one day, and reduces by half a day the time to return to work.|
For more information, see Tamiflu.
|Relenza (zanamivir) is used in the treatment of infections due to influenza A and B viruses in adults and children aged over 5 years. It is also used to prevent infection when vaccination is not appropriate, though it is not recommended as routine prophylaxis against influenza infection.|
For more information, see Relenza.
|Panvax is a vaccine containing inactive particles of the influenza (H1N1) virus. It is used to prevent infection with the influenza virus H1N1 strain (swine flu), and is approved for use in adults and children over 10 years of age.|
For more information, see Panvax.
|Panvax Junior is a vaccine used to protect children aged over six months from influenza type H1N1 (swine flu). It is administered by injection, and the correct dose depends on the age of the child.|
For more information, see Panvax Junior.
Popular Health Topics Dates:
|Created: 5/5/2009||Modified: 2/7/2012|
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