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Older hospitalised people are infrequently tested for influenza

Questionnaire

It is important to recognise the difference between influenza and other flu-like illnesses.

Clinicians should diagnose and treat influenza promptly, especially in vulnerable populations, such as older people, who are more likely to experience complications, such as pneumonia.

Influenza-like illness, also known as acute respiratory infection, has symptoms including fever, shivering, chills, malaise, dry cough, loss of appetite, body aches and nausea, usually with a sudden onset.

Symptoms are caused by cytokines released by activation of the immune system and so are non-specific.

These symptoms may be indicative of influenza but could also be triggered by other conditions including the common cold.

It is essential to diagnose influenza correctly because antiviral treatment is beneficial if given early and spread to other vulnerable patients can be prevented.

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