The flu is a common sickness around the world. People get it a few times a year, and it is not usually fatal. But what do people know about the flu? Most individuals do not know many details about this sickness that is a part of their lives seasonally. In order to address this, this essay will discuss the basics of the virus, its symptoms, complications, how it spreads, and its period of contagiousness.
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The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year. Influenza A viruses can be broken down into sub-types depending on the genes that make up the surface proteins” (“Influenza (Flu)”). During flu season, various kinds or brands of the virus spreads. The virus is known for its great variability, and that is the reason why it is so successful and longstanding.
The symptoms of the flu are the most visible signs that we have the virus. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults” (www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm). If one has these symptoms, it can be said you have the flu almost without doubt.
These symptoms are normal, but complications when one has the flu are the most dangerous. According to WebMD, “They include viral or bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and ear infections and sinus infections, especially in children. The flu can worsen long-term medical conditions, like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. You might also have muscle inflammation (myositis), problems with your central nervous system, and heart problems such as heart attacks, inflammation of the organ (myocarditis), and inflammation of the sac around it (pericarditis)” (“What Are Flu Complications?”). This shows one needs to take care of the flu before it reaches a critical point of damage and influence.
Being aware of how the flu spreads is also a vital aspect of the illness. Noted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs” (www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm). Sometimes, the flu can also spread by someone touching an object that the virus has been in contact with, and then this individual rubs his or her eyes or touches his or her mouth.
Additionally, you can benefit by knowing the periods of contagiousness. VeryWell Health states that, “The typical flu incubation period—the time between exposure and the start of symptoms—is between 24 hours and four days, with the average being two days. This means that if you are exposed to the influenza virus and become infected, you will start to experience flu symptoms anywhere between 24 hours and four days after the exposure” (Duda, Kristina, and Sanja Jelic). This means that it is difficult to determine exactly when and how you acquire the flu.
As we have seen, the flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by the extremely adaptable and variable influenza virus. It has a variety of symptoms, such as coughing, runny nose, chills, and more. A flu can bring on complications as well, like infections and inflammation if one is not careful enough. The virus itself is exchanged through a host releasing it in liquid form by sneezing, coughing, and other methods. Lastly, the period of contagiousness is between 24 hours to four days. This basic information about the flu can help us ward against the danger of this common illness.
“Influenza (Flu).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2018, www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/index.htm.
“Influenza (Flu).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Sept. 2018, www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm.
“What Are Flu Complications?” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-complications#1.
“Influenza (Flu).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Aug. 2018, www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm.
Duda, Kristina, and Sanja Jelic. “How Long Is the Flu Contagious?” Verywell Health, Verywellhealth, www.verywellhealth.com/flu-incubation-period-770308.
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