How Flu Affects the Respiratory System

woman with the fluOne of the deadliest natural disasters in the world is an all-too-common disease: flu. Back in 1918, Spanish influenza infected more than 450 million people and eventually wiped out about 3 percent of the global population.

In spite of the vaccines today, flu continues to kill men, women, and children. Most of these deaths, though, were associated with complications, such as respiratory infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 650,000 people die each year due to respiratory diseases that can accompany seasonal influenza. These include pneumonia. The risks of death are higher among certain groups such as children.

Unlike bacterial infections that can disappear with antibiotics, flu is viral. The most practical approach is to deal with the symptoms as early as possible to reduce the complications. If a child suffers from flu with wet cough (it has phlegm), it’s best to provide them with a mucolytic agent.

What’s a Mucolytic Agent?

Medication such as a Fluimucil sachet is mucolytic since it targets the buildup of mucus on the lungs and throat. It’s normal for people to produce mucus. In fact, the body needs it since it helps trap the pathogens that enter the nasal cavity. The body, though, has the mechanism to get rid of it without the person knowing it.

When a person contracts the flu virus, the pathogen can attack the respiratory system, particularly the lungs and airways. As an immune response, the body can produce more mucus.

woman sick on her couch

To remove the buildup of mucus, the body tries to expel it by coughing. The problem is, when there are excessive amounts, mucus can become viscose or sticky. It becomes more challenging to get rid of it. A lot of mucos can trap more viruses and bacteria, which can still multiply in the respiratory system.

A mucolytic medication can help provide breathing relief and decrease the likelihood of infection by thinning out the mucus. In the process, it becomes easy for the body to cough it out.

The Challenges of Giving Mucolytic Medicine on Children

Depending on the age, a child with flu and cough might have to take a mucolytic medication, which can be a tablet, syrup, or drops. There are pros and cons to each option. Syrups and drops are the easiest to administer since they’re liquids. Those meds for children usually have a fruity or sweet flavour to make them more appealing. These drugs, though, are ideal for little ones only.

Older children might have to take the tablet form, and it can be challenging for the parents. One, they typically don’t have the best flavour. Sometimes they even leave an aftertaste. Some children have difficulty in swallowing pills. They have a condition called dysphagia, or they might have had a negative experience with medication. In these situations, parents can consider effervescent tablets or granule sachets, which they can dissolve in fluids such as water.

Influenza doesn’t have a cure, but the symptoms are manageable, especially with the right medication. To know more about how to fight the flu, the Ministry of Health provides more information.