<h4>Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses which circulate in all parts of the world. There are 4 types of seasonal influenza viruses, types A, B, C and D. Influenza A and B viruses circulate and cause seasonal epidemics of disease.<\/h4>\r\n<strong>Epidemiology<\/strong>\r\n\r\nGlobally , the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced to varying extents health seeking behaviours, staffing\/routines in sentinel sites, as well as testing priorities and capacities. The various hygiene and physical distancing measures implemented by different countries to reduce SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission have likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission.\r\nDespite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.\r\n\r\nIn the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained below inter-seasonal levels, though sporadic detections of influenza A and B viruses were reported in some countries. In the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity was reported at inter-seasonal level.\r\n\r\nIn tropical South America, there were no influenza detections in this reporting period. In tropical Africa, influenza activity continued to be reported in Western Africa. In Southern Asia, sporadic influenza detections were reported in India. In South East Asia, influenza detections of predominately influenza A(H3N2) continued to be reported in Lao People's Democratic Republic and Viet Nam.\r\nWorldwide, influenza B detections accounted for the majority of the very low numbers of detections reported. All age groups can be affected but there are groups that are more at risk than others.\r\n\r\nPeople at greater risk of severe disease or complications when infected are: pregnant women, children under 59 months, the elderly, individuals with chronic medical conditions (such as chronic cardiac, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver or hematologic diseases) and individuals with immunosuppressive conditions (such as HIV\/AIDS, receiving chemotherapy or steroids, or malignancy).\r\nHealth care workers are at high risk acquiring influenza virus infection due to increased exposure to the patients and risk further spread particularly to vulnerable individuals.\r\n\r\n<strong>Difference between Cold and Flu<\/strong>\r\n\r\nColds and the flu are very common seasonal infections. They can have similar symptoms, but there are key differences. The common cold and influenza, commonly known as the flu, are very prevalent in the winter months.\r\n\r\nThe main difference between a cold and the flu is that the flu generally has more severe symptoms and possible complications.\r\nAdults catch an average of two or three colds per year, and children get more. The flu is less common, but it still affects about 8% of the United States population each season.\r\n\r\nMore than 200 different viruses, including rhinoviruses and some coronaviruses (not the one responsible for coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19), can cause the common cold.\r\n\r\nIn general, the flu is worse than a cold. While the symptoms of a cold come on gradually, flu symptoms begin abruptly, and they tend to be more intense. A runny or stuffy nose is more common with a cold. On the other hand, the following symptoms are common with the flu but uncommon with a cold: fever \u2014 a temperature of 37.8\u00b0C or higher \u2014 that lasts 3\u20134 days , muscle aches, particularly in the lower back, chills ,fatigue or weakness and a headache. Neither vomiting nor diarrhea is usually associated with the common cold, but both can be present in the flu.\r\n\r\nPeople may have the flu without key symptoms such as fever. The symptoms of a cold or the flu are also similar to those of other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, which the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes.\r\n\r\nColds do not usually lead to any further issues, although they can increase the chance of people with asthma having an asthma attack. Conversely, the flu can lead to severe complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections. Each year, flu-related complications cause thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.\r\n\r\nMost people recover from the flu in a few days to 2 weeks. Cold symptoms, which are generally milder, typically peak within 2\u20133 days and then get better gradually over a week or two.\r\n\r\nAs regards transmission, people can catch colds and flu in the same way. Both viruses are contagious and can transfer to a person who has close contact with someone who has the virus, breathes in respiratory droplets that contain the virus or touches a contaminated surface.\r\n\r\nFlu warning signs in children include: fast breathing or difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, chest pain, dehydration, dull reactions and fever. Warning signs in adults include: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, bluish skin colour, persistent chest or abdomen pain or pressure, dizziness or confusion, seizures, a lack of urination, severe muscle pain or weakness and fever or cough that improves then worsens.\r\n\r\n<strong>Prevention<\/strong>\r\n\r\nFollowing a few simple steps can minimize the spread of respiratory <a href="https:\/\/www.mayoclinic.org\/diseases-conditions\/flu\/symptoms-causes\/syc-20351719" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">viruses<\/a>, including the flu: avoid close contact, if you are unwell, stay home and avoid contact as much as possible and if another person is unwell, offer them support from afar. Cover the mouth and nose. Use a tissue to do so when sneezing and coughing, and dispose of the tissue immediately after use. Keep clean hands. Regularly wash the hands with soap and water. When this is not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Try not to touch the eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash your hands first to ensure that they are germ-free. Clean and disinfect surfaces. This applies to any that people come into contact with, at work, school, or home.\r\n\r\nResearch from 2012 indicates that hand hygiene and wearing surgical masks reduced the spread of flu-like symptoms by up to 75% in university dorms.\r\n\r\nTry antiviral drugs for the flu. These are prescription medications that can reduce flu severity and complications. They may also prevent people from getting the flu. The drugs work by fighting the flu virus and preventing it from multiplying in the body. Taking these antivirals within 2 days of flu symptoms appearing can reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. The antivirals can also reduce the risk of death among people with flu so severe that they require care in a hospital.\r\n\r\nMost people with uncomplicated flu cases do not need <a href="https:\/\/see.news\/coronavirus-disease-2019-and-children-by-dr-magdy-badran\/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">treatment<\/a>. Symptoms typically improve with plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medicines. A doctor might prescribe antiviral drugs as a treatment or preventive option if a person has an increased risk of severe flu complications. Four antiviral drugs are recommended for combatting currently circulating flu viruses: oseltamivir (Tamiflu) , zanamivir (Relenza), peramivir (Rapivab) and baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza). Antiviral drugs are no substitute for the flu vaccine.\r\n\r\n<strong>Quitting smoking<\/strong>\r\n\r\nQuitting smoking could be a useful way to prevent the flu \u2014 not only for the individual but for anyone else in the house. People who smoke have an exaggerated response to viruses, including those that cause the flu. As a result, people who smoke are more likely to have fatal complications during flu epidemics than those who do not.\r\n\r\nCigarette smoking can harm the immune system, which may increase the risk of respiratory infections such as influenza. People who smoke also have a higher risk of dying from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia.\r\n\r\nChildren exposed to seconhand smoke are more likely to need intensive care and a longer stay when hospitalized with the flu. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of a number of respiratory health problems among children, including lower respiratory illnesses. Additionally, exposure to secondhand smoke can worsen the frequency and severity of asthma attacks among children with asthma. Children with chronic health problems such as asthma are at greater risk of flu-related complications.\r\n\r\n<strong>Boost the Immune System<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe immune system protects the body from infection. When it is functioning properly, the immune system launches an attack on threats, such as flu viruses. While the immune system usually does a good job of regulating itself, certain disorders, allergies, asthma, and some medications can limit immune function.\r\n\r\nThe following strategies can benefit the whole body, including the immune system: eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising frequently, aiming to maintain a moderate BMI, sleeping for 7\u20139 hours each night and reducing stress.\r\n\r\nVitamin D plays a vital role in the functioning of the immune system. In people with low baseline vitamin D levels, taking supplements of the vitamin may halve the risk of respiratory infections such as the flu.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, flavonoids, which are antioxidants found in blueberries, and black tea, may help to control the immune response. Taking flavonoid supplements may reduce the incidence and impact of upper respiratory tract infections.\r\n\r\nIn addition, physical activity can have either a positive or negative effect on the functioning of the immune system. Regular moderate exercise reduces the risk of infection, while intense exercise, such as marathon running, could increase the risk.