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Influenza is a viral infection that affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and, occasionally, lungs. Infection usually lasts for about a week, and is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache and severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis.

The virus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Influenza tends to spread rapidly in seasonal epidemics.

Most infected people recover within one to two weeks without requiring medical treatment. However, in the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severe complications of the underlying condition, pneumonia and death.

  • The diet usually prescribed is a high calorie, high protein, low fat, & a high fluid diet.

  • The first two or 3 days can be more of a fluid diet consisting of soups, glucose water, juices, milk (only if there's no diarrhea).

  • Give small frequent meals at regular intervals, every 2 hrs which can be gradually increased to every 4 hrs.

  • Include foods which are soft, bland, easily digested and absorbed like gruels, cereal and milk, soft fruits like banana, papaya, orange, sweet lime, melons etc. soft and mashed khichdi or mashed curd rice or softly boiled veggies can also be included.

  • Protein intake of the diet should be increased, so it important to provide high nutritive value protein like milk, eggs & daal.

  • Fatty foods, spicy and highly fibrous foods are difficult to digest and should be avoided.

  • It is also very important to remember that during fever, there is an increase need of certain nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Calcium, iron & sodium.

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