Influenza – Causes and Symptoms of Influenza
Influenza, also called as flu is a contagious viral infection. It affects respiratory tract that includes throat, nose, bronchial tubes and lungs. Influenza can be fatal if you have a weakened immune system or any chronic diseases. It is common in all age groups and sexes. Children are known to be affected to a higher extent. People are mostly affected with influenza in the months of November to April.
Causes of Influenza
The main cause of influenza is viral transmission. The virus spreads from person to person through air droplets when the affected person talks, sneezes or coughs. The virus if present on any object can even transfer to a person when he holds it.
Influenza condition is caused by three strains of viruses. They are influenza type A, B AND C viruses.
- Influenza Type A – This is responsible for most deadly pandemic outbreak in the world. The virus affects the population for 10 to 40 years. It circulates in the world every winter. The virus keeps on changing and hence the body though it develops antibodies cannot protect the body from flu.
- Influenza Type B – This is responsible for localized and small outbreaks. It also circulates in winter season and is an unstable virus.
- Influenza Type C – This is a small epidemic virus and stable virus. Once it affects the body, resistance can be developed in the body to prevent further attacks.
Risk Factors of Influenza
The following are the factors that increase the risk of influenza. The viral condition is caused if you:
- Are a pregnant during winter season i.e flu season
- Have a weakened immune system
- Have a chronic disease conditions such as lung, kidney, heart diseases or diabetes
- Are an infant
- Are above the age 50
- Are in continuous contact with young children and infants
- Work in health care centres where you have a chance of exposing to flu viruses
- Your child takes long-term aspirin medications
Influenza symptoms are often confused with common cold symptoms. But the symptoms are more severe to common cold symptoms such as stuffiness of cold and sneezing. The signs and symptoms include:
- High temperatures
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
- Ear pain
- Running nose
- Sore throat
The symptoms such as fever and chills remain for 5 days and disappear. But weakness and cough may continue for few days. All the signs and symptoms subside within 1-2 weeks.