The flu is an extremely contagious respiratory illness that is caused by the influenza viruses. According to CDC, there are three types of influenza virus, A, B and C. Influenza A can also break down into different subtypes, however, influenza B doesn’t have subtypes but it does have various of lineages and strains.
The symptoms of the flu can be difficult to determine whether it’s a cold or a flu but one telltale is the severity of your symptoms. Cold symptoms include runny/stuffy nose and sore throat. Flu symptoms include runny/stuffy nose, sore throat, fever, chills, headaches, and extreme fatigue.
The flu virus can become deadly when it triggers the following:
-Pneumonia is an inflammation of the air sacs in the lungs, it can fill with fluid. The subsequent infection can be deadly, other serious conditions include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) and sepsis, the body’s response to infection which triggers inflammation throughout the body and can result in organ failure or death.
-Experiencing difficulty when breathing normally or feeling shortness of breath. Difficulty breathing that’s more than just a stuffy nose.
-Having chest or abdominal pain, this could be a sign of an infection such as myocarditis or pericarditis. With a high fever you can feel disoriented but dizziness and confusion are a sign of an infection.
-Persistent vomiting that has last more than two days and contains blood, or can’t keep liquids down, you need to call your doctor.
The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get your annual flu shot. CDC recommend that everyone from 6 months to elderly should get the vaccine to reduce contracting the flu virus. If you contract the flu, talk with your doctor to see if you can take antiviral medication like Tamifu to help shorten the time or prevent further complications.
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