What is influenza?
Influenza is a viral infection that is transmitted from one person to another in droplets produced when someone who is infected by the virus coughs or sneezes. The flu virus gets into the upper airways of the nose and throat, where it multiplies and spreads. After a few days, you start to feel unwell as your body fights the infection, with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, and extreme tiredness. If the flu virus gets into your lungs, it can cause severe health problems like pneumonia.
How is influenza treated?
Treating flu symptoms is best started during the early stages of infection before symptoms become too severe. Some people have a higher risk of developing complications from influenza, such as older people, pregnant women, and if you have a chronic lung condition like asthma. If the infection is treated early, it may be possible to reduce the risk of developing health complications like pneumonia.
Oseltamivir is an antiviral medication that is used to treat influenza. It works by inhibiting a viral enzyme called neuraminidase. This enzyme is essential for the influenza virus to be able to get into the cells of the respiratory tract and replicate, then to allow the virus to be released from infected cells and spread the infection.