A lot of people may find polyclinics in Singapore to be busier than usual during April to June and then during the latter weeks of the year. It could be because these are the two peak periods for flu in the country.
Flu, a viral infection, is so common that people can take it for granted. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of deaths can be as high as over 600,000 globally.
Most of these are individuals who belong to the high-risk group: children, older adults, and people with a weakened immune system. They are also the ones who develop complications such as respiratory infections.
Those who battle the flu have to treat the symptoms as soon as they appear to speed up the recovery, reduce the risk of further infection, and decrease the likelihood of spreading the virus. If they have a cough, the options can include the following:
Medications can be either over the counter or prescription. The difference is the patient needs a doctor’s request for the latter. It’s possible the ingredients are strong, or the medicine has particular functions. It can also be some may not be able to manage the side effects appropriately. Both can be:
Regular Tablets—These are flat pills with the core ingredients turned into powder and packed into a solid form. Patients take these directly with water. Depending on the dosage, they may have to cut these in two.
Effervescent Tablets—These are flat pills that one has to dissolve in a solution such as water. An example is the Fluimucil 600 mg effervescent tablet.
It is ideal for people who have issues with swallowing tablets (dysphagia). They are prone to gagging, vomiting, or, worse, choking. Effervescent tablets usually have a better taste than the regular ones, so they are more pleasing to drink, especially for the children.
Capsules—These are oval pills. Unlike the tablets, the main ingredients, which are usually in powder form, inside a gelatin-made container. Patients cannot divide capsules in half, but they might be able to open them. When it comes to effectiveness, pills are no better than the tablets. They are merely another way to deliver medications.
Syrups and Drops—Syrups and drops are medications in liquid form. They are ideal for children who may have difficulty swallowing tablets and capsules and are less likely to consume an entire glass of effervescent tablet.
2. Kinds of Medications
The medications above can also differ according to their respiratory action:
- Mucolytic Agent—Tablets such as Fluimucil 600 work as mucolytic agents, which means they soften the mucus or phlegm building up in the lungs and throat. They can become breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria, which may result in respiratory complications.
- Antitussive—These are drugs that help provide relief by suppressing or reducing the coughing reflex. These are ideal when the person has a dry cough (or they are not producing phlegm).
Special Note on Antibiotics
Some people might be inclined to take antibiotics when they have flu, but doing so can only endanger their health further. These are not medications for flu because they work only with bacterial infections. Misusing them can also increase the risk of drug resistance. No one should take antibiotics without the prescription and guidance of their GP.