Influenza is an acute respiratory infection transmitted by airborne droplets caused by various types of influenza virus.

The structure of morbidity

Among those who have the flu, mostly children aged 7-14 and adults. These are mainly influenza viruses of type B and influenza viruses of subtype A(H1N1)09).

The causative agent of infection is influenza virus types A, B and C (Influenza virus A, B, C).

Most often, influenza in humans is caused by type A viruses (which have the greatest variability) and type B viruses.

Every year new variants of influenza viruses appear (the virus mutates).

At room temperature (+22 °C) indoors, the influenza virus persists for several hours, on towels, handkerchiefs and other fabrics - up to 11 days.

The source of infection is a person who has been ill with influenza.

Transmission routes - into the air-drip transmission route - the main one. The role of airborne dust and household routes has been proven, but they do not play a significant role in the transmission of influenza.

Risk groups

  • people aged 65 years and older;
  • children under 2 years of age;
  • pregnant women and women within two weeks after giving birth;
  • patients with chronic diseases (chronic respiratory diseases, including bronchial asthma, chronic heart, kidney, liver or neurological diseases, diabetes mellitus, hemoglobinopathies, immunosuppression, obesity).

Incubation period

From the moment of infection to the onset of symptoms of the disease, it takes from several hours to 4 days, on average 2-3 days.

The period of contagiousness

A person with influenza, like other acute respiratory infections, is most contagious in the first 5-7 days of illness. The most active isolation of the virus in the first 2-3 days. Young children can be sources of infection for up to 10 days.


The disease begins with a sharp rise in temperature, body aches, headache, loss of strength. Then cough, sore throat and other symptoms of acute respiratory infections join.

The course of the flu can be both mild and extremely severe (especially for people at risk). A severe course of infection can be complicated by a fatal outcome.

What is the danger of the disease

In most cases, the flu ends in recovery, but sometimes pneumonia, bronchitis, otitis, sinusitis can join. Complications from the cardiovascular, nervous (encephalitis, meningitis, etc.) systems may also occur.


Smears from the nasal cavity and oropharynx.


In order to avoid complications, it is necessary to seek medical help in a timely manner.

Hospitalization is subject to patients with severe forms of influenza, patients with a complicated course, as well as newborns.


The risk of infection, as well as the spread of the influenza virus, can be prevented by vaccination, which is carried out in the pre-epidemic period (from September to November). Vaccination is carried out once a year.

The annual composition of the vaccine varies.

Vaccination scheme

Vaccination against influenza is recommended for all population groups, especially:

  • children from 6 months;
  • students of grades 1 - 11; students in professional educational organizations;
  • adults working in certain professions and positions (employees of medical and educational organizations, transport, public utilities);
  • pregnant women (regardless of the trimester of pregnancy);
  • adults over 60 years old;
  • persons subject to conscription for military service, military personnel;
  • people with chronic diseases of the lungs, organs of the cardiovascular system, metabolic disorders and obesity.

If a child under the age of 9 is vaccinated against influenza for the first time, it is carried out twice with an interval of 4 weeks.

Contraindications to vaccination

Vaccination against influenza is not carried out in acute febrile conditions (only after normalization of temperature), during exacerbations of chronic diseases, those who have an increased sensitivity of the body to egg white (if it is part of the vaccine). Also, vaccination is not carried out for those who had a strong reaction to the previous administration of the flu vaccine.

Nonspecific prophylaxis

Nonspecific prevention of influenza consists in avoiding contact with people with the flu, as well as in observing the rules of personal hygiene (hand washing, following the rules of a healthy lifestyle, drinking plenty of water, airing rooms, wet cleaning, avoiding hugs, kisses when meeting, touching with dirty hands of the face). If symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections appear, stay at home and seek medical help. In order not to infect others, it is recommended to use a medical mask.



Why does the measles vaccine not change for years, and the flu vaccine is new every year? About this in our article.

The fact is that the flu virus is constantly mutating, so it is impossible, once vaccinated, to get long-term immunity.

Scientists all over the world were looking for a solution and were able to find it - large-scale, time-consuming, but very effective. 

The countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) have established a Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GECOS). To date, the GECG unites institutions in 123 states. 

In each of these 123 countries, there are officially recognized WHO National Influenza Centers, one or more, which are engaged in collecting information on influenza in their country or part of it.

Influenza surveillance in Russia is carried out within the framework of the Federal Center for Influenza and Acute Respiratory Infections and the WHO National Influenza Center operating on the basis of the Smorodintsev Influenza Research Institute of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.

The national centers collect samples of the virus in their country and conduct a preliminary analysis. The research methods are standardized for the entire WHO network, so the data around the world are uniform, which allows them to be compared.

Representative clinical samples and isolated viruses are sent from National Centers to WHO Collaboration Centers and head control laboratories for advanced antigenic and genetic analysis.

The WHO Cooperation Center in Russia is the State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology "VECTOR" of Rospotrebnadzor.

Based on the collected data, an analysis of the situation over the past season is carried out and it is determined which virus was most common or was only slightly represented at the beginning of the season and was most widespread by the end. With the help of antigenic and genetic analysis, as well as mathematical modeling, the situation is predicted: which strains of influenza will circulate in the expected season. They are taken as a basis by manufacturers of flu vaccines.

Thus, every year, an up-to-date flu vaccine is on guard of our health, capable of protecting us in the coming epidemic season.





What do most people who self-medicate rely on?

Most patients, without consulting a doctor, take medications based on their own experience, advice from friends, trusting advertising, a pharmacist, or are treated with those drugs that are in the medicine cabinet "from the stomach", "from colds", "from nerves". 

Are you sure you just have a cold?

Only a doctor can carry out differential diagnosis of influenza, other viral infections and non-communicable diseases, determine the severity of the course of the disease and the necessary amount of medical care. There are many diseases whose clinical picture is similar, but the treatment required is completely different. 

Self-medication is not always effective, and it is always dangerous

When prescribing treatment for yourself, you do not take into account a number of nuances. The dosage of the drug is selected individually, the doctor needs to know the patient's age, weight, concomitant diseases. It is necessary to take the medicine in the correct dosage at certain intervals in order to avoid overdose and side effects. Before starting treatment, it is often necessary to conduct a blood test, urine or other tests. 

Self-administration of medications, dietary supplements or herbs can lead to an allergic reaction up to Quincke's edema or anaphylactic shock. 

Example: paracetamol poisoning

This seemingly harmless medicine is available to everyone in their home medicine cabinet. Helps with pain, reduces fever. What's wrong? After drinking a bag of "from a cold", adding a tablet of paracetamol from the temperature, did you calculate the total dosage of the drug you drank? In most cases, "cold" bags already contain a full dosage of paracetamol. 

Paracetamol in its pure form or as part of cold medications is toxic when the dosage is exceeded. Increasing the dosage or taking this drug for a long time can lead to toxic liver damage.

At an irreducible temperature, only the doctor will give recommendations on which drugs, in what dosage to take and with which drugs to alternate. 

Carefully read the label and instructions for the drug. 

Flu is not treated with antibiotics

At the first symptoms of influenza and any viral infection, antibiotics are not prescribed. Antibiotics are antibacterial drugs (effective against bacteria), and the causative agent of influenza is a virus. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, and are prescribed only for bacterial complications, for example, with the development of pneumonia. Unreasonable use of antibiotics can lead to the development of resistance of microorganisms to the drug. After all, antibiotics differ in antimicrobial action, and a drug effective against one bacterial infection may be useless against another.

Rubbing (wiping) is dangerous for children

Does the child have a fever, does the temperature not drop or decrease very slowly? Many parents are sure that it can be rubbed with vodka, cologne, vinegar. This is not possible, this method of lowering the temperature can lead to a chemical burn of the baby's thin and delicate skin.

Another disadvantage of self-medication is delayed diagnosis

To be treated independently, and to consult a doctor only if it became very bad -

bad practice. With this approach, there is a high probability of more severe, long-term treatment and recovery from the disease. And the flu is dangerous precisely for its complications.

Flu is a serious infection, the danger of which is complications

Flu complications can develop even in a healthy person, but are especially likely in people at risk. The addition of a secondary infection, for example, the development of pneumonia, otitis, sinusitis, requires the immediate appointment of additional treatment and medical supervision, which cannot be done on your own.

Flu can be treated at home

Flu, like other acute respiratory infections, is treated at home in most cases. Special attention is paid to infants, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases, cancer patients, and the elderly. They are more prone to complications and need hospitalization. If you are at risk, do not start treatment without consulting your doctor.

If you feel symptoms of a viral infection, there is a temperature that is difficult to cope with - consult a doctor, do not experiment with self-treatment.


GBUZ Moscow Clinical Scientific Center named after Loginov MHD