Influenza B

Currently, in May 2014, North Bay and area residents are fighting off Influenza B. There are 3 types of influenza virus: A, B and C. If you had the flu shot this year it contained a B strain which will help prevent you from getting this bug – or help you to fight it off. You may have even got the shot, but the shot may not have lasted long enough in your body to give you protection. In order to have a confirmed a case, the hospital, your doctor or nurse practitioner can do a nasopharyngeal (nose) swab.

Influenza is a pesky but mild self-limiting disease. It can cause pneumonia and more serious disease in the elderly, but usually it resolves without complications in 3 to 7 days. This virus does not respond to antibiotics as viruses are not cured with them. It may respond to Tamiflu (an antiviral) or you can let nature take its course – and let your own immune system build antibodies against any future attacks.

You can treat the symptoms, which include chills, fever; headache; runny nose; cough; sore throat; raspy voice and general malaise. In some people it can also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Treat the fever, headache and aching muscles with Tylenol or Advil. If you have chills and no fever take a warm bath. For coughs try tea, lemon and honey which coats the throat and reduces any tickle. Get plenty of fluids, rest and stay home so that you do not pass Influenza B on to your neighbours.

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