Q. How do we get flu?

Answered by
Dr. Arul Amuthan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 10, 2016 and last reviewed on: Feb 19, 2020

Hi doctor,

Why do we always have runny nose when we catch flu or cold? How do we get flu? I have headache and fever for almost a week. My tongue is sometimes white and lymph is a bit painful to touch but not swollen. Are these the symptoms of flu?

Dr. Arul Amuthan

Ayurveda Specialist Naturopathy Pharmacology Siddha Medicine Toxicology


Welcome to icliniq.com

  • When we get viral or bacterial infection in the nasal tract (upper respiratory tract- nose to throat), the local mucus membrane gets irritated. It leads to more secretion from mucus membrane and that leads to running nose.
  • The fluid is secreted to eliminate the bacteria or virus from the nasal tract to out of the body. This attempt is the natural way of eliminating infections from nose.
  • If we allow this running nose (with proper hygiene), the infection will be self-controlled in three to five days.
  • If we take some drugs to stop the running nose, it means we allow the bacteria to grow in the nasal tract. So, we always get running nose during infection in nasal tract.
  • The flu is 99 % due to viral infection. Those viruses need not be killed always.
  • Body will eliminate the virus through running nose (fluids) mechanism. Our body also develops immunity (antibody) against these viruses to fight next time.
  • We should improve our own immunity by proper food, lifestyle, herbals and drugs to prevent such flu. With good immunity, the flu may stay for half a day. Within the time, our body could kill the infections.
  • The flu is associated with many other symptoms such as fever, headache, white tongue, lymph pain, join pain, body muscle pain, excess tiredness, etc. If the starting symptom was running nose or sneezing or throat pain followed by your present symptoms, then high possibility of flu.
  • If the fever, headache and lymph pain started as the first symptom then it may not be due to flu. It may be due to some other infections especially in the oral area.
  • The bacteria or virus infection in the oral area are drained by the lymphatic system (natural police of body) and fight in the lymph node. Lymph node pain means there must be infection the near vicinity.
  • Very rarely, there is a lymph node pain without infection. But in this case, the lymph node pain will continue for more than six months. This may be due to some autoimmune disease or lymphocyte disease.

For further information consult a family physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/family-physician

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