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Health Condition

Influenza

About This Condition

Influenza is the name of a virus and the infection it causes.

Although for most people the infection is mild, it can be severe and even deadly in those with compromised immune systems, including infants, the elderly, and people with diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

Huge influenza epidemics in the past have led to careful monitoring of new strains of flu by the World Health Organizations and other national and international groups. In the 2009, a new virus known as the H1N1 (“swine flu”) caused international alarm, as healthcare systems attempted to prepare for an epidemic without knowing how to control the virus or how it would run its course. Antivirals were used to help susceptible populations, which were younger than is typical. In its first season, the virus was less severe and caused less mortality than is typical for most influenza outbreaks. Worldwide health organizations continue to keep careful watch, but fortunately, society is much better prepared for a serious flu outbreak than in previous years, due to more supportive medical care available and better ability to more easily coordinate a response to a flu outbreak.

Some nutritional and herbal recommendations for maintaining healthy immune function are also applicable for treating influenza.

Symptoms

Symptoms of influenza include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include headache, chills, dry cough, sore throat, pain when moving the eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. The onset of symptoms is often rapid and intense.

Other Therapies

People with flu symptoms are commonly advised to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

References

1. Braunig B, Dorn M, Limburg E, et al. Echinacea purpurea radix for strengthening the immune response in flu-like infections. Z Phytother 1992;13:7-13 [in German].

2. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 1985;5:381-4.

3. Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Alt Compl Med 1995;1:361-9.

4. Nantz MP, Rowe CA, Muller CE, et al. Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. Clin Nutr 2012;31:337-44.

5. Yamada H, Takuma N, Daimon T, Hara Y. Gargling with tea catechin extracts for the prevention of influenza infection in elderly nursing home residents: a prospective clinical study. J Altern Complement Med 2006;12:669-72.

6. Matsumoto K, Yamada H, Takuma N, et al. Effects of green tea catechins and theanine on preventing influenza infection among healthcare workers: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2011;11:15.

7. Renker K, Wegner S. Vitamin C-Prophylaxe in der Volkswertf Stralsund. Deutsche Gesundheitswesen 1954;9:702-6.

8. Klenner FR. The treatment of poliomyelitis and other virus diseases with vitamin C. South Med Surg 1949;111:210-4.

9. Pauling L. Vitamin C, the Common Cold and the Flu. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Company, 1976 [review].

10. Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect 2007;135:1095-6.

11. Scaglione F, Cattaneo G, Alessandria M, Cogo R. Efficacy and safety of the standardized ginseng extract G 115 for potentiating vaccination against common cold and/or influenza syndrome. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1996;22:65-72.

12. Woerdenbag HJ, Bos R, Hendriks H. Eupatorium perfoliatum L—the boneset. Z Phytother 1992;13:134-9 [review].

13. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 1985;5:381-4.

14. Scaglione F, Cattaneo G, Alessandria M, Cogo R. Efficacy and safety of the standardized ginseng extract G 115 for potentiating vaccination against common cold and/or influenza syndrome. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1996;22:65-72.

15. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 1985;5:381-4.

16. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 1985;5:381-4.

17. Beuscher N, Kopanski L. Stimulation of immunity by the contents of Baptisia tinctoria. Planta Med 1985;5:381-4.

18. Clover RD, Abell T, Becker LA, et al. Family functioning and stress as predictors of influenza B infection. J Fam Pract 1989;28:535-9.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

Drugs used to treat INFLUENZA. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing