What is influenza? The answer is that it is a viral infection which attacks a persons respiratory system. This means the lungs, nose, and throat. The flu is the most common reference used to describe influenza. People often think that influenza is some other type of illness but the flu and influenza are one-in-the-same. Yet, when someone refers to having a stomach virus "flu" that involves intestinal problems such as: vomiting or diarrhea this is not the same viral infection that attacks a persons respiratory system.
The flu is complicated and can cause death. Individuals who are at risk of developing flu complications include:
- The elderly
- Women who are pregnant
- Those who have chronic illnesses such as: Asthma
- Those with weakened immune systems
The best way to avoid catching the flu is to receive a flu vaccination.
It may appear that during the unset of flu, symptoms may be similar to the common cold. Symptoms will include: a sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing. The difference between colds and the flu, is that colds generally creep in slowly. Whereas the flu comes on suddenly.
What is influenza, the common signs and symptoms are as follows:
- A fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
- Aching muscles: The back, legs, and arms
- Chills and sweats
- Dry cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
The only real way to avoid the flu, is take the flu shot vaccination.
Those who have flu symptoms and are at high risk of catching the flu, should see a doctor immediately. The Mayo Clinic advises individuals to take anti-viral medication upon the first 48 hours of symptoms. This action may result in a reduced length of the illness. It may also help prevent more serious problems from occurring.