Influenza An Overview

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When the person sitting next to you sneezes and says ‘excuse me’, you might mentally excuse them, but they might have passed on something to you that you might not want to excuse them for.

Maybe an infection.

Maybe influenza.

At some point in time, all of us catch a cold. All of us might have to go on a coughing spree, and a terrible time not being able to move out of the house.

So what makes this happen? 

Simple flu, or call it influenza.

Now, with the new flu in town, the H1N1 (swine flu), the most common doubt that most of you must be having is, if influenza and swine flu are the same, are is it life-threatening.

So here we have some answers to your doubts.

Influenza: An overview

Influenza is a respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. It is highly contagious and usually spreads through coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Although it is extremely unpleasant to have, flu is rarely a life-threatening disease.

Let’s move on to knowing some facts about influenza.

Influenza virus

  • The flu virus is microscopic and can only be seen under electron microscopes.
  • Inside the virus cell, genetic material present contains the information that can help produce more copies of the same virus.
  • Outside the virus cell, it has H spikes and N spites.
  • The virus uses its H spikes to get into your cells.
  • The N spikes allow the copies of the virus to break away from your infected cells, infecting more cells.
  • When an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs, droplets carrying the influenza virus might enter your body through your nose or mouth.
  • Once the virus enters your body the virus comes in contact with the cells in your, nose, throat, and lungs.
  • The H spikes settle on a receptor molecule on a healthy cell membrane, and fixes like a key and a lock.
  • This allows the genetic material to release and make copies of itself, and develop more virus cells.

This is how the virus multiplies and spreads from person to person. Treating influenza is like another battle. You might not be able to recognise it at the beginning, and might require a series of tests and diagnostics to confirm it. But there are some facts that you may still be unaware of.

Did you know?

  • Antibiotics must not be used to treat influenza.
  • Research says that the best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated every year.
  • Another interesting fact is that flu vaccine is not suitable for the  people, who are highly allergic to chicken eggs.

These facts are essential to consider if you have flu. It could lead to severe complications including bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections. It can also worsen chronic health conditions, like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

How does flu spread?

Flu viruses spread through micro droplets which are not visible to the naked eyes when people with flu talk, cough or sneeze. These droplets might spread through air and land in the mouths or noses of people who are around. Influenza can spread through air and touch as well in some cases.

The Incubation Period:

A person with influenza may pass on the flu to someone else before they can find out that know they are sick, as well as while they are sick. Although people with flu are most contagious during the first 3-4 days after it begins, some people can infect others just a day before the symptoms develop.

It is tough to figure out if you have simple cold, or if it is influenza virus that’s in. But it is definitely not a worry if you treat it the right way. And the best way is to boost your immunity.

Eat well, exercise, and follow a healthy lifestyle.

About the hospital:

Sai Sanjeevini Multi Speciality Hospitals, a unit of Singapanga Healthcare Pvt. Ltd has been providing health services to the people in need for the last 14 years. This health care organisation combines practical, proven research, cutting edge procedures and state-of-the-art treatment to produce excellent medical and lifestyle outcome for our patients. Our hospital and medical staff provide innovative medical care in a friendly, compassionate, community environment conducive to patient recuperation in a family atmosphere.