Influenza or flu is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. This virus spreads through contact with droplets when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Its symptoms usually start within 1-4 days after infection. Common symptoms of influenza include: 

High fever of 38°C or more

Dry cough

Sore throat

Body and muscle aches



Nasal congestion

Runny nose

In some cases, patients may experience severe, life-threatening symptoms such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. This is especially true in young children, the elderly, and patients with chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, etc. 

Treatment Guidelines  

Influenza can be treated with antivirals as these medicines can relieve symptoms and shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms. Use of antivirals should be started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. In Thailand, the most common antivirals used in treatment of influenza are as follows: 

  • Oseltamivir 
  • Baloxavir 

Patients suffering from influenza should also make sure they get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and take medicines such as antipyretics, antitussives and sore throat medicine, etc. 

Prevention of Influenza 

Getting the influenza vaccination is the greatest approach to avoid influenza virus infection, as this vaccine lowers the risk of infection, prevent the development of severe symptoms, and keeps hospital admissions to a minimum. You can get influenza vaccination at any time of the year, however it is recommended that you have it before to the rainy season.  

In addition to getting the influenza vaccination, you can prevent influenza by adopting the following personal care measures: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • Avoid close contact with sick people 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing 
  • Clean and disinfect the frequently touchpoints or surfaces such as doorknobs, work desks, etc. 

If you have symptoms of influenza or are at risk of developing severe symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately to receive the right treatment.  

High-Risk Groups for Influenza Complications 

  • Children aged 6 months to 5 years 
  • Elderly people aged 65 years and over 
  • Patients with chronic diseases 
  • Pregnant women 
  • Caregivers of older persons 
  • Patients with home-based health care 
  • Medical personnel

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From Bangkok Hospital Phuket