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All About Influenza by Tabitha Short

By at April 5, 2012 | 6:10 am | Print

Influenza Virus or more generally known as “The Flu” has been a common nuisance for years. This virus can be as innocent as common cold symptoms or as dangerous as being fatal. The flu can be traced back 412 BC but through time there have been a growing number of types of influenza and treatments.

There are three categories the virus is divided into; A, B, C. Type A has a way of classifying viruses dependent of proteins found on the surface of the virus. Based on these proteins we can categorize into subcategories; 15 types that have the Hemagglutinin protein and 9 types have Neuraminidase protein.  These proteins can have many different combinations including the H5N1 and H1N1 also known as the Swine Flu. This category can affect not only humans but various animals as well.

Type B does not have subtypes and are normally only found in humans.

Type C is usually only a mild infection for humans and associated with seasonal flu virus.  Every type of flu has symptoms that are similar. Some can be confused with the common cold but the major difference is the found to be more severe. Health care providers can administer a quick test to determine. Common symptoms include; a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, head and body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms can be treated with or without medicine. There are symptoms that can cause one to need emergency medical attention which include; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pains, onset of acute dizziness, confusion or altered mental status, a persistent severe vomiting, seizures, or if mild symptoms  improve but return with fever or worse cough.

Treatment of the virus can be with or without medicine. Medications can be over the counter or a prescription antiviral to prevent complications. If the flu has progressed to a bacterial infection a physician can prescribe antibiotics. The best treatment for the influenza virus is prevention.  Vaccinations are available throughout the year but are more recommended to be received at the beginning or before the start of the flu season around October. These vaccinations can be given as an injection or in the form of a nasal spray. The nasal spray is typically given to ages 2 to 49 years old but not to pregnant women because of the production is made with the weakened live virus. The vaccine can be administered at a physician or nurse. The vaccine can help prevent the infection and therefore help to prevent the spread of the illness. This will not completely prevent one from getting influenza virus because of the various types of flu combinations but can help in not getting the most common virus that is going around.

References

http://www.clintoncountypa.com/Pandemic%20Information/Influenzavirustypes.pdf

www.flu.gov

www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/

 

 

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