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Acquiring the flu these days has become such an inconspicuous thing- anybody can become affected at any given time and we seem quite unaffected by the common flu. In reality, our reaction towards the flu should be much different and should lean towards the serious side as it is not as insignificant as some might think.

“Influenza” is a specific virus.  It is a respiratory virus, to be particular. So what lay people often refer to as “the flu” – is a GI virus – not Influenza. And if you happen to have gotten infected with the Influenza virus, the matter is indeed quite serious and does not deserve to be fooled around with. In the case that you also suffer from any kind of chronic illness especially belonging to the respiratory category, such as asthma, the risk of your illness developing into a serious one becomes that much higher and may even ultimately lead to death if not treated in time . Regardless of whether you are really young or really old, the flu affects everyone in a like manner.

It is highly contagious and spreads not only by direct particles – i.e. sneezing in someone’s face or in close proximity, but also tends to spreads by fomites. Imagine that you have the Influenza virus. You wipe your nose and touch the demo iPhone at the Apple Store. A mother comes by around 12 hours later and touches the same phone as you. The virus is still very much alive and breathing and gets onto her hands. She then goes home, and touches her own or her child’s eyes and nose- transmission occurs through the mucous membranes and you have successfully transferred your sickness to another family (although that is nothing to be proud of).

Viruses are actually very smart- smarter than you would think. But how so? Let me try and explain. They mutate really fast- like any organism, they mutate to outplay their predator and survive in an environment that is out to eliminate them. But they are unbelievable, as it has been found that they do it several times a week.

Flu season can be as early as October, but traditionally in the Northern Hemisphere it’s 1/1 and it dwindles in April.

Influenza is actually quite different from a cold. It is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by flu viruses which we have mentioned before. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can even lead to death. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

People who have the 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)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

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

It has been brought to notice by the Center of Disease Control that people with chronic lung disease are at a higher risk of developing severe pneumonia in the case that flu is not treated. This is why it is necessary that steps be taken in order to cure and, most importantly, prevent our health from being affected by the Influenza virus or any other respiratory virus for that matter. 

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