It is true that the common cold and the flu share many of the same symptoms. The common cold will cause an unpleasant, but mild set of symptoms. The flu, on the other hand, causes more severe symptoms and is more likely to cause serious, possibly life-threatening complications.
The flu is a viral illness that is contracted from contact with a person who is infected, or by coming into contact with unwashed, infected surfaces. After the virus moves into the body, it lives in the back of the throat. It then multiples until it reaches a viral load where it can successfully affect its host.
What Class of Virus is The Flu?
The flu is categorized as a contagious viral illness affecting the respiratory system. Depending on the strain of the virus, and the immune system of its host, it will cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. At times, the severe effects it can have on the human body can be fatal, especially if it is not treated by qualified medical professionals.
Because of the potential for developing severe, life-threatening complications, the CDC recommends that people take charge of their own health care and take the right steps to prevent contracting the flu virus. Prevention can be as simple as getting a flu shot every year and following proper health and safety precautions, like washing your hands after touching things, or eating.
Statistics show that between 5% and 20% of the American population contract the flu each year. Unfortunately, out of the people who do not receive the vaccine on an annual basis, 360 people die from flu related complications, or the severity of their symptoms. To make this statistic even more grim, the majority of the fatalities are in children, elderly, and those who are immune compromised. The subsection of the immune compromised population most affected are asthmatics, diabetics, and people with heart disease.
What Symptoms Are Experienced with the Flu?
People who do contract the flu will suffer from unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms can range from high fevers, chills, muscle aches and pains, sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, fatigue, and a dry cough. While these are the most common symptoms, others may experience additional symptoms, like stomach aches, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and even diarrhea. While these additional symptoms are possible in any case, they are likely to manifest in children than in adults.
People who suffer from a severe case of the flu may experience more severe symptoms. They may develop bacterial pneumonia, sinus infections, painful ear infections, and possible dehydration. These bacterial invasions are typically caused by a weakened immune system trying to fight off the virus, and accidentally allowing bacteria to infiltrate the body.
How to Know If You Have the Flu
The common cold and the flu virus usually cycle around communities at the same time. The symptoms of both viruses can be very similar, but the symptoms experienced with the flu are a lot worse than the common cold can cause. The common cold will drag you down and make you miserable. The flu will make you miserable to the point where you cannot even drag yourself out of bed.
Because the strains of flu virus change every few years vaccines must change with them. Developing these vaccines can be extremely difficult because scientists are not able to anticipate exactly what genetic mutations will take place with the flu virus. Because of this, all vaccines are developed using live samples from the previous year’s flu outbreak, which leaves people open to developing a mild case of the virus, even if they have been vaccinated.
After being exposed, the virus takes between 24-hours to four days to incubate before the person begins to show symptoms.
The flu virus typically lasts between one to two weeks. Treatment is symptom management and immune support. The majority of people who contract the flu find that their immune system is able to fight it off and heal their body without medical care. However, the body requires plenty of fluids, a lot of rest, medications for fever, and proper nutrition. In order to properly heal, the body needs plenty of calories and an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals to fight off a virus.
At Clinic Klinic in Marietta we test and treat flu. Our process is simple and quick. We have convenient hours. We are your community clinic.