Influenza, or 'the flu' is an infection of the lungs and the surrounding
areas. This infection of the respiratory tract is caused by the influenza
virus. The virus usually spreads during the winter in temperate climates.
When many people catch the flu at the same time, the situation is called a
The proteins that coat the flu virus change constantly. As a
result, new strains of the flu virus circulate every few years. In some
countries, people at high risk are encouraged to get a flu vaccination every
year. Some of the people at risk are those over 65 years, children with
heart or lung conditions and health care workers.
People with flu infections feel as if they have a cold, but the signs and
symptoms are usually more severe. Body areas other than the respiratory
tract may be infected. Signs and symptoms include weakness, chills, fatigue,
muscle aches, headache, fever, running nose and cough. The signs and
symptoms could last for a week to ten days.
The influenza virus is spread largely through the air. A typical
situation is where one person infected with the flu coughs or sneezes when
in close proximity with another person. Droplets of the virus, suspended in
the air, are breathed in by the other person. Once the virus lands on the
lining of the nose, throat or other body areas related to breathing, it
Usually the flu goes away with a rest, drinking plenty of fluids and
taking mild pain medication. Health care providers may prescribe certain
medication for people who are at high risk. When symptoms do not go away
after seven to ten days, there is difficulty in breathing or persistent high
temperatures, a health care provider should be consulted.
Influenza is an infection of the respiratory system. It is
caused by a virus. When the protein coating of the virus changes new strains
appear. The signs and symptoms are similar to that of a cold, but often more
severe. When an infected person cough is or sneezes, droplets of the virus
float in the air. Another person gets infected by breathing iii these
droplets. The virus multiplies quickly once it settles on body areas related
to breathing. Rest, drinking plenty of fluids and mild medication usually
get rid of influenza. However, people with prolonged or more serious
symptoms have to be treated by doctors. (104 words)