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Is The Flu Caused By A Virus

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Impacts Of Pandemic Flu

Flu Virus 101 | National Geographic

The timing and impact of a flu pandemic is unpredictable. History has shown that flu pandemics generally occur three to four times per century. The pandemics of the last 100 years were in:

  • 1918-1919
  • 1968-1969
  • 2009-2010

Pandemic flu can cause severe illness and death in people who were otherwise healthy.

It is estimated that 20 to 50 million people died worldwide during the Spanish Flu, and an estimated 1-4 million deaths occurred during the Asian Flu. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, it is estimated that:

  • between 100,000 and 400,000 people died worldwide, and
  • 70% of the deaths in Canada were in people younger than age 65.

Before a pandemic, it is impossible to know how many people will:

  • become ill

The impact of a pandemic flu depends on several factors such as:

  • how easily the virus spreads
  • how sick it makes people
  • which groups of people are most affected

Not all novel influenza viruses turn into flu pandemics. Two avian influenza A viruses, H5N1 and H7N9, have sometimes made people sick in other parts of the world. The spread of these viruses between people has been very rare and does not happen easily.

There have been rare cases of novel avian influenza A virus infection in humans in Canada. Each of these cases involved a returning traveller who became infected with a novel virus while travelling in an affected part of the world. In all of these instances, there was no spread to other people in Canada.

Can You Get Medicine For Influenza

If you are seriously ill, your doctor might order an antiviral drug for you. Antiviral drugs for influenza include oseltamivir phosphate zanamivir peramivir and baloxavir .

Oseltamivir phosphate

This drug is approved to treat influenza in patients who are two weeks of age and older, and it works best in people who have had the flu for fewer than two days. It is also approved to prevent flu in patients who are one year of age and older. There is a generic version of this product available, but it costs nearly as much as the brand name. Potential side effects include nausea, vomiting, nosebleeds, headaches and tiredness.


This drug is approved to treat flu in patients seven years old and older, and to prevent flu in patients who are five and older. This product is inhaled and not recommended for people who have respiratory illnesses like COPD or asthma. Common side effects include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, nose irritation and vomiting.


This drug is approved to treat flu in people 2 years old and older. This product is given into the vein by a healthcare provider. A common side effect from peramivir is diarrhea.


This drug, a pill, is approved to treat flu in people 12 years old and older who are otherwise healthy and in people who are at higher risk of developing influenza-related complications. Common side effects are diarrhea, bronchitis, nausea and headaches.

What complications are associated with influenza ?

When Should You Go Back To Work Or School If You Have Had The Flu

You are contagious for one day before starting feeling ill, and for 5 to 7 days while you have the flu symptoms. At the very least, you should stay at home until you are able to go 24 hours without taking something for fever. If you have other severe symptoms, such as incessant cough or shortness of breath, you should stay at home.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/24/2019.


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How Long Does Flu Last And Is It Serious

If you have flu, you generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected.

You should begin to feel much better within a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer.

You’ll usually be most infectious from the day your symptoms start and for a further 3 to 7 days. Children and people with weaker immune systems may remain infectious for longer.

Most people will make a full recovery and won’t experience any further problems, but elderly people and people with certain long-term medical conditions are more likely to have a bad case of flu or develop a serious complication, such as a chest infection.

Read more about the complications of flu

What Are Coronaviruses

Understanding the influenza virus

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common in humans and animal species around the world. Seven strains of coronavirus are known to infect people. Four of these strains only cause minor respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold. In fact, most of us have been infected with one or more of these viruses during our lifetime. Three strains of coronavirus are associated with severe and potentially fatal respiratory illness:

  • MERS-CoV is the virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome.
  • SARS-CoV is the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome.
  • 2019-nCoV is the virus that causes COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.
  • Although the MERS, SARS, and 2019-nCoV viruses are all in the same family, they do behave differently and require different treatments.

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    How Can I Avoid It

    Keep your hands clean. Wash them often to remove germs. Try to avoid touching your face. And get a flu shot. The CDC makes a flu vaccine based on the type A strain that it believes will be most prevalent in the coming flu season. This is what you get with the annual flu shot or FluMist nasal spray. That said, FluMist is not recommended for use during the 2017-2018 season because it might not be effective.

    Also see WebMD’s “What Is FluMist?

    Show Sources

    CDC: “Estimating Seasonal Influenza-Associated Deaths in the United States: CDC Study Confirms Variability of Flu” and “The Influenza Viruses.”National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Flu : Causes.”Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “Flu .”FDA: “The Flu.”

    What Type Of Virus Causes Influenza

    Influenza is caused by several closely related viruses in the family Orthomyxoviridae, an RNA virus group. Influenza viruses are categorized as types A, B, C, and D. These major types generally produce similar symptoms but are unrelated antigenically. The infection with one type confers no immunity against the others.

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    Is It Flu Or A Cold

    It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have flu or just a cold, as the symptoms can be quite similar. The main differences are:

    Flu symptoms:

    • usually include fever and aching muscles
    • make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities

    Cold symptoms:

    • come on gradually
    • mainly affect your nose and throat
    • are fairly mild, so you can still get around and are usually well enough to go to work

    Do Different Types Of Flu Viruses Hit The Population Each Year

    Flu Attack! How A Virus Invades Your Body | Krulwich Wonders | NPR

    Different strains of the flu virus mutate over time and replace the older strains of the virus. This is why it’s important to get a flu shot each year to ensure that your body develops immunity to the most recent strains of the virus.

    As determined by the CDC, the viruses in a flu shot and FluMist vaccine can change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of the flu will be most potent that year. Previously, all flu vaccines protected against three influenza viruses: one Influenza A virus, one Influenza A virus, and one Influenza B virus. Today, FluMist and some traditional flu shots generally cover up to four strains: two Influenza A viruses and two Influenza B viruses.

    About two weeks after getting a flu shot or FluMist, antibodies that provide protection against the flu viruses develop in your body. That said, FluMist is also not recommended for use during the 2017-2018 season because it might not be effective.

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    The Flu Vaccine Doesnt Cause The Flu

    One misconception is that the flu vaccine causes the flu. One variety of the flu shot does include a severely weakened form of the flu virus. It doesnt cause real infection, but it allows your body to develop necessary antibodies. Another variety of the flu shot only includes dead, or inactivated, virus.

    Some people do experience mild flu-like symptoms after getting a vaccine. This can include a low-grade fever and body aches. But this isnt the flu and these symptoms typically only last one to two days.

    You may also experience other mild reactions after getting the flu vaccine. This includes brief soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site.

    The flu vaccine is especially important if youre at risk for flu-related complications. Complications are more likely to occur in certain groups, such as:

    • people who are at least 65 years old
    • young children, especially those under 2 years old
    • pregnant women and women who are up to two weeks postpartum
    • people who have a weakened immune system
    • people who have chronic conditions
    • Native Americans
    • people with extreme obesity, or a body mass index of at least 40

    However, anyone can develop severe complications.

    The flu virus can also trigger secondary infections. Some infections are minor, such as an ear infection or a sinus infection.

    Wintery Mix Of Viruses

    Winter is the prime cold and flu season. Youre more likely to be indoors and closer to others when its colder outside. Weather also plays a role in the spread of viruses.

    Cold and flu viruses survive better and are more transmissible if its cooler and if theres lower humidity, Gordon explains.

    Experts are concerned that flu and COVID-19 cases may increase and overlap in the winter. Flu cases usually start to increase around October and peak between December and February. Being infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time is possible, as is showing symptoms of both.

    If youre sick with the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. Such drugs can make your flu milder and shorten the time you are sick. They work best if theyre used early in your illness.

    The FDA has also approved one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, to treat COVID-19. Other treatments are in development and under review. No complementary approaches have been shown to be helpful for fighting off flu or COVID-19.

    Fortunately, strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 also prevent the spread of flu and cold. Measures like masking and social distancing work for other respiratory viruses, as well as COVID-19, says Dr. Chip Walter, who studies vaccine development at Duke University.

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    Common Viral Infections And Their Symptoms

    The severity of viral infections can also vary widely and depends on the type of virus involved. Common viral respiratory infections and their symptoms include:

    • The common cold:Typically caused by rhinoviruses and some coronaviruses. The common cold is usually mild and can include coughing, sore throat, sneezing, runny and stuffy nose.
    • Influenza :The flu is commonly caused by type A and B influenza strains. Symptoms are typically more severe than the common cold and can include coughing, fever , muscle aches, shortness of breath, and more.
    • COVID-19: Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, symptoms include fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, loss of sense of smell and taste, fatigue, and more.
    • Viral pneumonia: This viral lung infection can be caused by viruses including coronaviruses, adenoviruses, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, varicella-zoster virus, and respiratory syncytial virus . Symptoms include cough, difficulty breathing, increased breathing rate, and fever.

    How Is Influenza A Treated

    Understanding Influenza Viruses

    If you have influenza, you are likely to get better within a week or so by:

    • resting in bed
    • taking mild pain relief to reduce your pain
    • drinking plenty of liquids
    • eating light foods when you are hungry

    In some people, the flu can be severe and lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. This is mostly likely to affect the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people with chronic health problems.

    If this sounds like you, your doctor might give you antiviral treatment to reduce your symptoms and prevent complications. These treatments are most effective when started within 2 days of flu symptoms appearing, so its important to ask your doctor whether this type of treatment is right for you.

    Antibiotics only work for bacterial infections, so they won’t work for the flu, which is caused by viruses.

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    When Is A Person With Influenza Infectious To Others

    The infectious period varies a bit from person to person but it is considered that an adult with flu starts being able to pass on the infection from during the day before their symptoms appear and then they remain potentially infectious for three to five days. The start is probably the same for children but it is often stated that it runs on for up to seven days after onset.

    However, the risk to others is not constant throughout. Infectiousness rises steeply when the person starts feeling unwell and that is when he or she is most dangerous to others. The risk of catching influenza from someone even just before they become ill and after the end of the first three days is quite low. This is why it is so important, especially when influenza is around, that as soon as someone starts feeling ill they go off work and stay home for a few days.

    Why Get The Flu Vaccine

    You never forget the flu, it can hit quickly and last for a few weeks, meaning time off work or school and staying away from family and friends.

    The flu doesnt discriminate, and anyone can be affected thats why it’s so important that everyone in the community protects themselves against the flu this season by getting their flu shot.

    Find out more about flu immunisation.

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    How To Treat The 24

    If youve come down with the 24-hour flu, you can do the following things at home to help ease your symptoms:

    • Drink plenty of fluids to replace the fluids lost from diarrhea and vomiting. Examples include water, diluted juices, and broth. Electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte or diluted sports drinks , can also be used.
    • Eat plain or bland foods that are less likely to irritate your stomach. Examples include things like bread, rice, and crackers.
    • Rest up. Getting plenty of rest can help your body fight the illness.
    • Use an over-the-counter anti-vomiting or anti-diarrheal medication. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which types may be appropriate for your condition.
    • Take an OTC pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease any body aches and pains.

    The Flu Shot And Covid

    What Was the 1918 Influenza Pandemic?

    An important update regarding timing between receiving the flu and COVID-19 vaccines for all Victorians including those most vulnerable in our community.

    The original recommended timing between receipt of the 2 vaccines was a preferred minimum interval of 2 weeks .

    Based on the latest medical advice the preferred minimum interval between vaccinations for COVID-19 and the flu is now 7 days.

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    It Takes Up To Two Weeks For The Flu Vaccine To Work

    Getting a seasonal flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself against the influenza virus.

    But its important that you get your shot early in the season. The flu shot is effective because it helps your body develop antibodies to protect itself against the virus. It takes about two weeks for these antibodies to develop, though.

    If youre exposed to the virus within two weeks of getting a vaccine, you may still get sick. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October.

    Feasibility And Validation Of Procedures For Removal

    In principle, human influenza isolates can be used for the validation of the manufacturing procedures for plasma components. Since different levels of antibody prevalence against influenza A/H1N1, A/H2N2, and A/H3N2 as well as influenza B viruses are present in the population, this should be taken into account in validating the different methods.

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    Evolution And Virulence Of Influenza Viruses

    Between worldwide outbreaks, known as pandemics, influenza viruses undergo constant, rapid evolution , which is driven by mutations in the genes encoding antigen proteins. Periodically, the viruses undergo major evolutionary change by acquiring a new genome segment from another influenza virus , effectively becoming a new subtype. Viral evolution is facilitated by animals such as pigs and birds, which serve as reservoirs of influenza viruses. When a pig is simultaneously infected with different influenza A viruses, such as human, swine, and avian strains, genetic reassortment can occur. This process gives rise to new strains of influenza A.

    People Who Need More Than One Influenza Vaccine A Year

    Canadian researchers on promising path towards developing flu treatment ...

    There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the influenza vaccine within the space of one year. These people include:

    • Children less than 9 years of age receiving their influenza vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
    • People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time after transplant.
    • Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons influenza vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
    • Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons influenza vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.

    Please check with your GP to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.

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