How to diagnose the flu at home

“Tell me, please, as correctly diagnosed flu”, — Oksana.

Meets Sergei Makarov, General practitioner:

In case of unfavorable epidemiological situation (epidemic influenza) diagnosis can be based on characteristic symptoms.

Classic symptoms are acute onset (sometimes a person can say clearly, when he felt ill), a significant increase in body temperature (up to 39-40 degrees), severe weakness, headache, muscle and joint pain, often pain in the eyeballs, especially when looking at light. The symptoms of upper respiratory tract are also present (runny nose, sore throat, cough), but compared to the severity of the General symptoms, they fade into the background. Also sometimes there may be nausea, vomiting, rarely diarrhea (usually in children). The duration of the disease in uncomplicated adults 5-7 days, children up to 10-12 days.

Note that not always the flu occurs with severe symptoms, often erased form (without high fever, with normal health), and sometimes even asymptomatic. Laboratory testing for influenza should be conducted in situations where the result of the study may affect therapeutic strategy or the decision on conducting anti-epidemic measures. The most accurate laboratory Diagnostica flu is in the first 5 days of the disease, after this period increases the likelihood of false-negative results. The material for analysis is often gain by taking smears from the nasopharynx in small children with nasal mucosa.

There are a number of virological methods detection of influenza virus, they are quite accurate, often determine not only the type of virus, but the strain, but most of them require special equipment (e.g., back-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, immunofluorescence study, etc.), so they are not available in each medical institution. The alternative can serve as so-called rapid test for influenza virus, which resembles a pregnancy test. Only in this case, the analysis does not take the urine, and flush or swab of the nose/nasopharynx. The result can be obtained in 10-20 minutes, and not departing from the bedside, but these tests are less accurate than complex virological tests that must be taken into account by the doctor. In addition, they do not allow to determine the strain of the virus, but only a type. But the definition of strain seldom affects the tactics of treatment, it has more value for epidemiological monitoring.