Bird Flu Symptoms and Treatments

Monday, 10 Feb 2014 03:41 AM

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Bird flu commonly known as influenza occurs in many people all over the world. Humans may be affected by bird flu when they come in contact with birds that are infected by bird flu. Caring for sick birds or consuming sick birds are potential risk factors for humans to be affected by bird flu. Even indirect exposure to the feces of infected birds is a risk of bird flu infection.
 
In humans, bird flu virus causes influenza. However, the immune system in humans does not naturally produce antibodies to fight against bird flu and influenza virus. Hence, when there is a bird flu outbreak, the severity of symptoms and the rate at which the disease spreads could be pretty severe.
 
Antiviral treatments are available to tackle bird flu and influenza. Recently, the introduction of vaccines for bird flu and influenza has greatly changed the scenario. Bird flu and influenza vaccines can be very effective in preventing bird flu outbreaks. In addition, bird flu and influenza vaccines will provide immunity to people against common bird flu types.

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Symptoms of Bird Flu and Influenza

There are many coldlike symptoms that occur in people infected with bird flu. In the case of H1N1 virus causing influenza, the following symptoms were observed in most people:
  • Coughing (dry in most cases)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Higher body temperature
  • Headache
  • Running nose
  • Sore throat
  • Blocked nose and other symptoms of cold
  • Muscle pain
  • Malaise
The symptoms of influenza and bird flu are similar to that of cold, and the first symptoms of bird flu can often be misinterpreted as not being consequential. Hence, there are chances that people ignore the symptoms and avoid treatment.
 
Usually, symptoms similar to cold start showing approximately two to eight days after exposure. Children get coldlike symptoms. If proper treatment is not taken immediately, the disease can progress and cause pneumonia and respiratory failure. Without treatment, it could even prove fatal. 
 
Treatments for Bird Flu and Influenza

Initial treatments for bird flu and influenza include antiviral medications such as the following:
  • Oseltamivir
  • Zanamivir
These antiviral medications serve as effective bird flu and influenza treatments since they significantly reduce the severity of symptoms of bird flu disease. When treatment is taken within two days of having acquired the infection, it helps conquer the disease.
People with severe bird flu and influenza infections may require breathing assistance and isolation as a part of their treatment.
 
Recently, the FDA has approved a bird flu and influenza vaccine that could help prevent bird flu disease from passing on from one person to another. It is recommended that those who take bird flu and influenza vaccine shots also immunize their family members from developing resistance to bird flu and influenza virus. This would prevent a possible outbreak and cross-infection.

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