Bird flu also known as avian influenza is a disease that is transmitted from one bird to another. Before humans became aware of its existence, the disease had already been affecting birds for some time.
If humans start to get infected, too, this type of flu would become one of the most dangerous types of flu in the world. The recent bird flu outbreak in Europe, Africa, and Asia showed that this flu is something we should keep a careful watch on.
Level of Threat
There is still no clear evidence that this flu can become a threat to humans. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “While human infections are possible, infection with avian influenza viruses in general are rare and – when they occur – these viruses have not spread easily to other people.” In other words, it may affect humans, but it is not contagious. Only those with direct contact with bird flu contaminants such as those who work in a poultry are vulnerable.
If you happen to get infected, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor will ask you about the symptoms. For your awareness, here are the symptoms of bird flu:
According to Mayo Clinic, “Signs and symptoms of bird flu may begin within two to eight days of infection, depending on the type.” This means you can’t yet recognize whether or not you are infected. If there is an outbreak, and you think you happen to get exposed with bird flu contaminant, here are the symptoms you should observed in two to eight days:
- Shortness of Breath
- Muscle Aches
- Sore Throat
The above symptoms may or may not be associated with bird flu. Some of them may not be present. You may be coughing without fever, or you may have a headache with shortness of breath but without sore throat.
On the other hand, the length of symptoms may also vary. You may experience cough for three days or more. Fever may also be staggered. Sometimes, your body temperature is high. There are times within the day your fever gets high.
Headache may be recurring. Usually, this goes along with shortness of breath as the lack of oxygen cause’s headache and difficulty in breathing. Muscle aches may be rare while sore throat commonly takes place along with cough.
You don’t need to wait for all the symptoms to occur at the same time. It is enough you see at least two symptoms. There are also times you can experience one symptom on the first day and be replaced by another symptom the next day. It is important to take note of this. Your doctor will document such symptoms. If you are still unsure of them, that’s the time your doctor will ask for diagnosis and test.
Test and Diagnosis
If your doctor suspects that you are infected with bird flu, you will be asked for laboratory test. This test will need samples of fluids from your nose or throat. The samples must be taken within two to eight days of being infected.
If you are positive for the bird flu virus, your doctor may prescribe some antiviral medicines such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). These medicines must be administered within 48 hours of detection. Otherwise, you should cure every single symptom with its corresponding medicine.
If the symptom is a cough, your doctor may recommend a cough medicine. There is still no separate medicine for the bird flu. This is why prevention is better than cure.