Influenza (flu) is a highly contagious illness of the respiratory system that is caused by influenza viruses. Elderly people or young children may be at a more elevated risk of severe flu complications. Severe flu complications should never be ignored as they may lead to a worsening of symptoms that could require hospitalization, or in some cases where the flu is aggressive or the patient has a compromised immune system—may even cause death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is only able to estimate flu deaths in the United States, as individual states are not required to report data that would lead to an accurate count. However, the CDC does make estimates. According to their reported data the estimate for the 2011-2012 year was approximately 12,000 and the estimate for the 2012-2013 year was approximately 56,000.
Most flu viruses are typically prevalent more so in the fall and winter months with activity beginning to spike in October. While December through February are the peak months, some strains of flu viruses may still be hanging around perhaps as late as May.
As flu viruses vary, symptoms may vary as well. Some of the possible symptoms one may experience with a flu virus are listed below.
While the flu is certainly uncomfortable and distressing, recovery for most people comes within a few days to two weeks. However, when symptoms worsen and there are complications such as some types of pneumonia, the flu can last longer and in these cases can become very dangerous, potentially life-threatening.
Some flu patients may benefit from treatment with antiviral drugs. Talk to your doctor about your risks of severe flu complications. If you are over the age of 65, pregnant, or suffer from medical conditions (especially diabetes, heart disease, or asthma) ask your doctor if antiviral drug treatment may be appropriate. Antiviral drugs may, in some patients, reduce flu symptoms and/or shorten the duration of the virus and more importantly—may prevent some of the more dangerous, potentially life-threatening symptoms such as pneumonia.
Your compounding pharmacist can create customized medications to the exact specifications of your doctor. And often, medications can be combined for ease of use, crafted to more optimal dosages, and made without the harmful fillers/dyes/sugars found in many big chain pharmacy drugs. Compounding pharmacists work directly with your doctor to tailor medications just for you, specific to your needs, and targeted for your condition.
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