Most of us must have experienced runny nose or cough. Actually, these symptoms are caused when our body gets infected with influenza,which is commonly called flu.
What is Influenza?
Influenza is an infectious disease which is caused by certain type of viruses. These viruses infectour respiratory system; mostly lungs, throat and nose. There are many people who do not take influenza (flu) seriously,sincegenerally people can get rid of them very easily. But influenza can also be deadly in case the conditions are very severe. Influenza,if not treated on time,may cause other diseases to take over on the body, such as pneumonia.
Although influenza can infect the people of any age, yet it is more likelyto develop in children below the age of 5, old age people and people whose immune system is weaker comparatively. The body can show various symptomswhen it gets infected with influenza. Cough, headache, fever, runny nose and tirednessare the most common symptoms of influenza.
Causes of Influenza
Influenza is a viral infection which is generally spread to people from others who are already infected with it. It is because when a person sneezesor coughs,influenza virus can easily travel through the air. Moreover, infected people can contaminate things with the virus when they touch them. Hence, influenza virus can also get in the body of a healthy personwhen he touches contaminated things.
People infected with influenza virus have their hands contaminated with it. It is a good practice to wash our hands and take a shower soonwhen we handshake with someone or someone coughs at us.
Types of Influenza
The main types of influenza are types A, B and C. Among these, type A is the most dangerous type of influenza. There are many genetic variants of these influenza typesother than this.These genetic variants are called strains. These strains develop from timetotime, and we obtain a new strain of influenza virus almost every year that cannot be prevented with vaccines of the previous year. Therefore, to decrease the chances of getting infected,it is essential to take the vaccine of influenza every year.
Different names for different strains of influenza are there which are given letters (H and N for type A) and numbers. In the name of a strain of type A strain, letterH refers to Haemagglutinin and letterN refers to Neuraminidase. The strain of influenza whichtook place in 1918 was H1N1. H1N1 caused more than 5 million deaths. An influenza strain, which is also known as bird flu, is called H5N1.
It is very difficult to avoid touching thingsor meeting with people;therefore, people can get infected with influenza at any time. Hence, getting a shot of vaccine every yearis the best way to avoid influenza infection. Although the vaccine highly reduces the chances of being infected, yetit does not guarantee to prevent the virus 100%. Influenza vaccines can be taken from the age of 6 months onwards. It is still a good practice to wash hands and body in a regular wayin the season of fluafter getting a vaccine shot.
Generally, doctors recommend drinking lots of water and sleeping during influenza infection.
Around 33% of people infected with influenza do not show any symptoms.
Some of the flu vaccines consist of a small percentage of egg protein. Talk to your doctor firstif you are allergic to eggs.