Types of Influenza

Flu is also known as ‘influenza’. It is a contagious respiratory disease which is caused by the influenza viruses. Flu viruses get in the body through the mucus membranes of nose, mouth or eyes. You infect yourself with a virus whenever you touch your hand to one of these areas. Normally the flu season starts in October and ends in May every year. In 2017-2018 flu season, around 53 kids have died in the United States. Older people, pregnant women, children and those with long-term illness are at a higher risk of getting flu complications.

Influenza or flu is different from the common cold. Both have contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract and have similar symptoms. However, flu is much worse and can make it difficult for you to get out of your bed. Flu symptoms include – cough, runny nose, sore throat, body pain, chills, high fever, watery eyes, headache, weakness and fatigue. These symptoms often come on abruptly. Many people take flu vaccine to avoid this illness and its severe complications. However, sometimes even those who have taken their shots suffer from flu. Hence it is very important to take preventive measures during the flu season. Flu is highly contagious and can spread from person to person by coughing, sneezing or touching surfaces.

There are three types of flu viruses which are; Type A, Type B and Type C. The type A and B causes yearly influenza epidemics that result in around 20% of the population having high fever, coughing, aching and sniffling. Although type C also causes flu, its symptoms are not very severe.

Type A: This kind of flu can infect animals; however, more commonly people suffer the ailments related to this type of flu. Generally, wild birds act as the hosts of this flu virus. Type A flu virus are usually responsible for a large flu epidemics.

Type B: This type of flu virus is found solely in human beings. This flu may sometimes be less severe than type A flu, but it can still be extremely detrimental. Type B flu viruses generally do not cause epidemics.

Type C: Type C flu viruses normally cause mild respiratory symptoms or no symptoms at all. This type does not cause epidemics and also does not have the serious impact of influenza types A and B. Although there are flu vaccine for types A and B, there is no such immunization for type C flu virus.


How is Flu Treated??

Antibiotics do not help in flu treatment. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines such as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza) to treat flu. Additionally, painkillers may help in alleviating headache and body ache. Besides this, a person affected by flu should rest at home, keep warm, possibly avoid contact with people, drink lots of liquids and avoid smoking and drinking. Consult a doctor at once in case the temperature remains high after 4-5 days or if the symptoms worsen or one feels shortness of breath.