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Key Facts About Influenza (Flu)

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Influenza is a viral infection which makes a person feel tired suddenly, achy, then a tickling throat, coughing or even sneezing. With such symptoms, antibiotics have a little effect on the patient and so the best cure is prevention. It’s believed that the flu viruses originated from birds, but can also be found in pigs too. Viruses are usually spread fast since they are tiny, they stay longer on surfaces touched by an infected person or even hang in the air after someone has coughed. Once this virus enters the respiratory tract, it attaches itself to the epithelial cell, burrow deep inside and with time, it multiplies itself. When this happens, a cell ruptures spreading the virus to other surrounding cells and so within days the body gets infected.

Flu is usually mistaken for a common cold since the first symptom for both are similar that is; sneezing and running nose. But if its flu a victim may experience fatigue, fever, a dry cough, and aches. Children may suffer dehydration, diarrhea, and nausea. Influenza can be fatal when a complication such as pneumonia attacks the victim. Flu viruses not only destroy the cell linings but also the hair-like cilia on the airways making it harder to get rid of mucus.

Flu Symptoms
Flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever*
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Human influenza falls under three categories namely; Type A, Type B, and Type C.
TYPE A OF INFLUENZA
This type of influenza is separated into 8 different segments. This causes severe epidemic since they have the ability to mutate into these 8 viruses and which invades the human immune defenses. Since the body does not recognize the viruses, it usually reacts so badly being lethal in other cases.
TYPE B OF INFLUENZA
This can be lethal, but since it usually mutates slowly, it mainly affects children most especially those that haven’t been vaccinated. Since is not common, it causes seasonal flu from time to time.
TYPE C OF INFLUENZA
Influenza type c is usually mistaken for a common cold since it’s usually mild. May be misdiagnosed, but usually is treatable.

How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

The good news is that influenza can be treated if one knows some simple knowledge about it. The most important one is that one should get a flu jab as soon as possible. People who are at risk from influenza include those people who are aged 65, those who have respiratory diseases or chronic heart diseases.
Vaccines are usually improved from time to time in order to guard victims against new flu varieties. Though experts advise those pregnant women, especially if one is in the first trimester, they should not take these vaccines and also those that are allergic to some proteins. Young, healthy people should also get vaccinated because it won’t hurt. Other measures include washing of hands, avoid touching the eyes and nose, use a tissue when sneezing or coughing. In case, one contact a mild flu one is advised to avoid driving and have a complete bed rest.Some anti-viral drugs can also be administered to victims of influenza type A and type B. Since influenza is also preventable, be a the clever one and take protective measures.

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