The Flu, also called Influenza, is a respiratory condition that affects the mucosa, nose, throat, and lungs  hundreds of thousands around the world.

Symptoms often occur in the late fall, winter and early spring (but not in all cases).

This condition is caused by a influenza virus which is a RNA virus that is seen in humans.

Symptoms often begin 2 days after exposure and can last 1-2 weeks.

Cough, of the most lingering symptom, can last weeks following an infection.

 

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Sore Throat
  • Night sweats
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pains
  • Dyspnea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Can lead to pneumonia

 

Results

  • Every year approximately 36,000 deaths are attributed to the flu
  • Almost ten times that amount are hospitalized

 

Types of Influenza Viruses

1.)  Influenza A Virus

  • Found in humans
  • Typically the cause virus for pandemic deaths

2.)  Influenza B Virus

  • Affects humans and seals
  • Usually does not cause a pandemics

3.)  Influenza C Virus

  • Rare when compared to A & B
  • Can be severe and is seen in epidemics
  • Vaccines are not done against type C

4.)  Isavirus

  • Is a viral disease of Atlantic Salmon
  • Does not cause human flu

5.)  Thogotovirus

  • Is found in ticks in Europe and Africa
  • Does not cause human flu
  • Can cause sickness and encephalitis in humans though

 

Categories

1.)  Epidemics

  • Occurs when new cases of a disease are seen in a population
  • The strains are often slightly different than the previous year
  • Regarding the flu – occurs every year
  • Death still occurs – but not as widespread and severe as Pandemic

2.)  Pandemic

  • This is a defination of a flu virus strain that affects a large portion of the human population
  • Is is seen throughout the world
  • The most serious in recent history occurred in 1918
  • Many people die as a result of the virus
  • In 1918 over 50 million people were killed as a result of the virus
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Vaccinations:

  • The yearly vaccine typically has antibodies and surface glycoproteins from a combination of the strains of these viruses
  • Is referred to as the trivalent influenza vaccine  (TIV)
  • It carries no risk of transmitting the disease
  • A vaccine for one year will often not protect you the following year
  • Some people become sick following their injection but it is not “from the injection”

Subtypes

  • Each set of viruses also has additional subtypes
  • Subtypes refer to slight differences in structure or genome

Influenza A

  • H1N1  –  Caused Spanish Flu and also similar to Swine flu of 2009
  • H2N2  –  Asian Flu
  • H3N2  –  Hong Kong Flu
  • H5N1  –  Bird Flu
  • H7N7, H1N2, H9N2, H7N3 and others

Influenza B

  • Has several strains

Influenza C

  • Has several strains

 

Other Flu

  • Avian Flu
  • Dog Flu
  • Swine Flu
  • Horse Flu

 

Additional Concerns

  • Changes or mutations of viruses can cause a virus that is typically seen in an animal that may start to affect humans

Examples include:

  • Avian Flu  –  1999, 2003
  • Spanish Flu  –  Swine Flu  –  1918, 2009
  • Asian Flu  – Avian Flu  –  1957-1958
  • Hong Kong Flu  –  Swine Flu –  1968 – 1969

 

Prevention

  • Limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover mouth when sneezing
  • Wash hands often
  • Influenza vaccination
  • Limit contact to those who are sick
  • If you become sick – limit your contact with others

 

Treatment

  • Influenza is a virus and antibiotics won’t help
  • Treat symptoms
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Increase fluid consumption

Medications

  • Cough Syrup
  • Tylenol for fever
  • Amantadine  [Symmetrel]  –  for influenza Type A
  • Rimantadine  [Flumadine]  –  for influenza Type B

When to go to see a medical profession or the Hospital

  • Guidelines often vary
  • When having an extreme temperature 104 or above
  • Temperature of 102 for 3 plus days
  • Becomes increasingly difficult to breath
  • When dehydration is worse
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