Influenza B, the most widespread symptoms of the intestinal virus

Influenza B, the most widespread symptoms of the intestinal virus

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“March is a difficult month for respiratory and intestinal diseases. This month then began with sudden changes in temperatures, transitions from dry to wet, in short, not the sign of spring. In colleagues’ surgeries we see many cases of intestinal viruses which they cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, even strong especially in the working population, 30-50 year olds. Then we still see some viral pneumonia, but Covid really seems to have disappeared from the radar.”

Pierluigi Bartoletti, deputy national secretary of the Italian Federation of general practitioners (Fimmg), takes stock of the situation. “Influenza B has yet to arrive – he specifies – which strikes children and young people between March and April”.

How to cure yourself? “You need a lot of patience, but above all you need to rehydrate during the day – replies Bartoletti – Maybe skip meals if you don’t have an appetite or eat little”.

The flu

But let’s try to understand exactly what influenza B is. The term influenza refers to the disease caused by the influenza virus, but is generally used incorrectly as it is often associated with all those similar diseases caused by other viral respiratory pathogens. Influenza viruses are classified by type: A, B, or C based on their nucleoproteins and matrix proteins.

Influenza B

Infection with a type B influenza virus manifests itself with the classic symptoms: fever, sometimes high, sore throat, cough, runny nose and sneezing, tiredness, joint and muscle pain. In some cases abdominal pain and gastro-intestinal disorders may appear.

Even if cases of flu caused by virus B are less frequent, the pathology is no milder than that caused by type A viruses. It should not be underestimated and, in the most serious cases, may require hospitalization due to complications. In the most serious cases, in fact, the infection can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, serious breathing difficulties, inflammation of the muscle tissue (myositis), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) and sepsis.

Therapy

Since it is a viral infection, type B influenza cannot be treated with antibiotics, but the symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as antipyretics and anti-inflammatories.

Typically the symptoms ease and disappear within 7-10 days. Especially in the case of high fever, small children and fragile people, it is still necessary to contact your pediatrician or family doctor who will be able to direct you towards the most appropriate therapy.

Finally, it should be remembered that prevention is possible. Hygiene rules are essential but this type of flu can be prevented through vaccination. Today in Italy quadrivalent influenza vaccines are available which contain 2 type A viruses and 2 type B viruses and which are recommended for ‘fragile’ patients.

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