Influenza (or flu) is a highly contagious infection which attacks the respiratory tract. You or anyone close to you can get the flu. Flu is usually not life impairing or fatal, however, children below 5 years of age or elderly above 65 years may suffer from serious complications and may need to be hospitalized. In older people, influenza is also more likely to lead to pneumonia​, bronchitis and other infections. In the worst conditions, influenza can also lead to death.​

Commonly "flu season" starts in winter with the weather changes and usually lasts until spring.​​

If you have caught the influenza virus, you may feel sick for a week or two and recover very soon. In some people, persistently suffering from influenza leads to more serious lung infections. 

The following are the most common symptoms of flu:

  • Moderate to high fever

  • Headache

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Cough

  • Mild to severe muscle and body aches

  • Shivering or chills

  • Fatigue or feeling very tired

  • Sometimes may occur with a sore throat

  • Sore thr​oat

  • Loss of appetite​​​

People over 65 and those with chronic illnesses have a hard time fighting influenza because the body’s system for fighting infections is often weakened by age and illness. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, consult one of our doctors working with the Internal Medicine Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital. 

For a preliminary examination, you can also consult the doctors working with the Family Health Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital.​ ​
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so makes sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

In the attempts to diagnose influenza, your doctor will first gather information about your health and the history of your illness. He will conduct a thorough physical examination to assess for the symptoms evident. The doctor will also analyze your breathing and heart rate. 

Although influenza is very easy to diagnose, your doctor may conduct further tests to confirm its presence. Using a sterile cotton swab, your doctor may take a nasopharyngeal swab sample and request an influenza PCR test.

Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

Increasing your intake of fluids will help you recover faster. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help manage the symptoms associated with influenza. These will also reduce the length of your illness. 

It is advised that you get vaccinated if you have difficulty in recovering or have rigorous schedules. The best time to get the flu vaccine administered is in the fall before winter sets in as the vaccine is highly effective one to two months after administered.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.