An Informative Guide to Understanding the Influenza Virus

An Informative Guide to Understanding the Influenza Virus

Jun 01, 2020

If you have ever suffered from influenza, or as we commonly know it as the flu, you understand first-hand how it can bring even the toughest people to their knees. The influenza virus can manifest itself in a myriad of symptoms, all ranging from mild to very grueling.

It is one of the leading reasons that makes people flock any emergency room near you. Indeed if you were to end up in an emergency room near you at any time, especially during the flu season, you would not fail to find several people there exhibiting the different influenza symptoms.

What Is Influenza?

Influenza, also commonly known as the flu, can be described as a viral infection that ideally attacks your respiratory system, which includes your throat, nasal passage, and lungs.

In a majority of people affected, the flu tends to dissipate on its own after a few days; however, in some high-risk groups of people, it tends to spiral into more adverse complications.

Individuals who are more prone to developing complications due to an influenza virus attack may include:

  • Pregnant women and at times two-week-old postpartum women
  • Individuals struggling with obesity especially those with a BMI of 40 and above
  • Children under the age of 5
  • Infants under 12 months old
  • Adults who are over 65 years of age
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Individuals residing in nursing homes or any form of continuing care facility
  • Individuals who are living with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiac diseases, and kidney complications

Individuals within these categories may develop complications such as cardiac issues, pneumonia, ear infections, asthma, or bronchitis.

If you or your loved ones fall within these categories of individuals that are vulnerable to influenza complications, you need to ensure that you visit our emergency room near you to get an influenza virus vaccine.

This vaccine could safeguard your loved ones against experiencing the grueling complications that accompany this viral infection. The vaccine can be administered to anyone from six months and above.

Symptoms of Influenza

Here are some of the common influenza symptoms:

  • Muscular aches
  • Fever
  • A dry and persistent cough
  • Fatigue
  • Nasal congestion
  • A sore throat
  • Feeling weak
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • sneezing

It is easy to mistake the flu with the common cold because their symptoms are almost the same. However, the distinguishing feature between these two is that the flu symptoms suddenly emerge out of nowhere, while a cold tends to build up gradually.

It’s essential to see a doctor as soon as you experience these symptoms, particularly if you fall into the category of individuals who are at a high risk of developing complications related to the flu.

What Causes Influenza?

Influenza is a viral infection that can be traced to a vast majority of several strains of the influenza virus.

Its ability to constantly mutate and transform into different subtypes is what makes it a challenge to deal with it and even come up with a long-lasting treatment against its various strains.

This means that even if you have ever contracted the flu before, you cannot really develop immunity against all the strains it has. An influenza virus vaccine can only protect you against that particular strain of influenza and not any other strain that might emerge.

What Are the Common Types of Influenza Viruses?

The influenza virus has several strains that may occur within our population during different seasons.

Here are some of the common strains that reoccur now and then:

  • Influenza Type A

This strain can infect animals and birds who then act as hosts for the virus. Influenza type A is known for its ability to morph into several other subtypes continually, and it has been the leading cause of most flu epidemics.

This type of influenza can also be hosted across several species, including pigs and humans, giving it the potential to cause pandemics.

This strain can be spread from person to person through contact with contaminated objects, coughing, and sneezing.

  • Influenza Type B

Influenza type B can only be found in human beings, and although it is not as severe as type A, it can also break out during certain flu seasons. This type of influenza cannot however, cause pandemics but epidemics.

  • Influenza Type C

It only occurs in humans but can be hosted in dogs and pigs too. This strain rarely causes illnesses and is milder than type A and B.

At Ascent Emergency Room, we offer the influenza vaccine, visit us with your family today, and safeguard your loved ones against influenza.

Are you looking for an emergency room in Houston, TX? At Ascent Emergency Room, we care about your health and their emergency needs. We are located just a little away from you and provide exceptional and comprehensive emergency care appointments for the surrounding Houston area:

  • (Southampton) University Place
  • Rice Village
  • Bellaire
  • Old Braeswood
  • Gridiron
  • Brookhaven
  • Southside
  • Riverside Terrace
  • Greater Third Ward
  • Greater Eastwood
  • East Downtown
  • Midtown
  • Montrose
  • Westmoreland Houston
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