Flu season usually lasts from November through March, with an exception of the Pacific Northwest. The name "influenza" comes from the word "influx", which means flowing. It is highly infectious, easily spread, and most people will have at least one episode of it in their lifetime. It is one of the most common causes of acute respiratory illness during the winter seasons. While seasonal flu is usually mild to moderate, the seasonally-occurring H3N2 strain of influenza can be deadly. Because of the severity and duration of the seasonal influenza strains, it has been difficult to develop a flu vaccine.
There are five types of influenza: A, B, C, D, and X. The uncomplicated influenza illness is simply the term used to describe any of these. Flu symptoms tend to mimic those caused by the common cold, so most people assume that they are just run-of-the-mill colds. But the difference between uncomplicated and complicated influenza is the length of the time the symptoms last. People with uncomplicated influenza stay ill for only a few days, while others end up being hospitalized for weeks.
Although most people become sick only when the common cold is present, the influenza virus always remains in the respiratory system, waiting to resurface when conditions are right. The most common symptom of an uncomplicated influenza is a high-pressure, runny nose and the common cold-like sore throat. If symptoms last for more than a week, you probably will not develop the pneumonia-like complications of influenza (pneumonia). The complications of uncomplicated respiratory infections are similar to common colds. They include sore throat, cough, fever, and sore lungs.
Unlike the more serious acute infections, there are simple techniques for uncomplicated influenza prevention. One of the most effective strategies is to limit the patient's exposure to excessive heat and sunlight. If possible, the patient should also avoid heavily scented lotions, and sprays, as well as cigarette smoke. Other tips to prevent influenza include avoiding screened pools and spas. Most importantly, however, patients should receive basic flu prevention information and basic information about common colds and flu symptoms. This basic information can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of various flu treatments.
There are four types of influenza viruses that cause the majority of influenza epidemics among children and adults. These are influenza A, H3, B, and C. The first two types cause minor outbreaks that usually last for a few days. The third type is the largest cause of influenza disease and tends to be chronic. Since there are several different strains of the influenza virus, there are also several different types of flu epidemics.
The seasons when an outbreak is strongest tend to be early in the season, usually in the spring and late summer or early fall. The peak risk period is during the influenza seasons of October through November and the beginning of February through March. For those who suffer from a persistent seasonal or nasal respiratory illness, getting diagnosed early can be the best strategy for successfully treating and preventing influenza. If a person suspects that he or she has contracted influenza, it is important to seek immediate medical attention so that appropriate treatment can be administered before the illness causes severe symptoms.
In order to prevent severe cases may need to take antiviral medications. However, these medications do not cure or treat the illness. They simply reduce the amount of virus in the body and prevent the virus from causing severe symptoms. In some cases, especially with persons predisposed to developing severe infections, daily use of antiviral medications can be quite effective in controlling severe influenza symptoms. However, other people will require higher doses of medications to be able to control their symptoms.
Flu viruses thrive in close contact with someone who is infected. Close physical contact such as kissing, sharing food or drinks, sneezing or coughing, and even touching the eyes or mouth are some of the ways in which people can become infected. This virus is particularly insidious because those who have a weaker immune system are at greater risk of contracting the illness. Thus, even healthy individuals who spend a considerable amount of time around others who are sick can develop this illness, thereby compromising their ability to protect themselves and others.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and the author of hundreds of heartfelt, wonderful eulogies. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones and exploring issues in the aging process.
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