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Overview of Influenza

Influenza, or the flu, is known and experienced in many lives. It is an infection that is experienced in the human body, specifically a viral infection. The risk level of Influenza or the flu varies and can be detrimental, or even deadly, to one’s life.

Introduction

  Influenza, or the flu, is known and experienced in many lives. It is an infection that is experienced in the human body, specifically a viral infection. The risk level of Influenza varies and can be detrimental, or even deadly, to one’s life. Influenza has been very prominent throughout history, exemplified in many cases. A common example of this is shown through the 1918 Flu Pandemic, where a third of the global population was affected by the influenza virus. It was a viral origin as stated commonly for influenza, caused by the H1N1 virus. World War 1 was occurring during this time period, which had played a huge role in the spreading of the infection as expected. The lack of vaccines and safer conditions during the time did not help, and as a result, a huge amount of people were greatly affected by influenza or the flu, given that it is a contagious infection that can be spread to a multitude of people from vast, and various places.

Method of Transmission

The infection is spread to others through droplets, which can travel through the air and can potentially affect someone with influenza or the flu. It occurs, for example, if someone were to speak, the droplet will contract in the air, and be carried. It can then potentially affect anyone or anyone as the droplet can possibly be inhaled or touched, and be transferred to the body as a result. For instance, one can touch the surface where one who had influenza touched contracting any form of droplets the person may have left. They can transfer it through the touch as stated, and the respiratory system will be affected as soon symptoms will appear indicating that another person has contracted influenza or the flu, as they began exhibiting the known symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms consist of possibly fever or a cough. A sore throat can be experienced as well as aches. The symptoms experienced by one with influenza or also known as the flu can be experienced as similar to a cold, whereas the flu can be dangerous due to certain factors that are in the person who is experiencing the flu or influenza. Those who are very young such as ages up to 5 years old as well as those who are 65 and older may have a higher chance of complications due to the flu or influenza, as age plays a crucial role in regards to how much impact the person will experience in terms of having the flu or influenza. One can also experience eye pain as well as a runny nose, as they are some common symptoms experienced by those who have had influenza or the flu. Someone who may possess a weaker immune system may have a harder time in regards to combating influenza or the flu than someone who does not have any problems regarding immunity, causing one to have a higher chance of having greater risk or complications with the viral infection. Other illnesses that may be present as well in the human body of the person experiencing influenza or flu can possibly and potentially cause the person to experience greater risk or complications with the disease.

Complications

Those with pregnancy can also experience a higher chance of complications in terms of combating influenza, as well as obesity playing a role in terms of complications with the viral infection. These factors affect the varying risk level that occurs with influenza or the flu, as the level in which it will affect one depends on the personal health situation and circumstance of the one who is being affected by influenza or the flu. In terms of risk level with the viral infection, dangerous symptoms can also be experienced where immediate medical attention is needed. There could be shortness of breath which is a dangerous symptom, where one needs to get medical attention immediately due to the risk of the viral infection. Seizures are another dangerous symptom that could occur which signifies that this requires serious medical attention, and can be detrimental and dangerous. Severe pain can be experienced throughout the body, throughout the muscles, which can be proven to be very serious and detrimental due to influenza. Some other symptoms could also include dizziness or blue lips which are required of immediate medical attention, as they are emergency symptoms. Those experiencing any symptoms of influenza or the flu seek attention from medical professionals, and flu vaccinations are taken to prevent this from occurring. 

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

“Influenza (Flu).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Dec. 2020, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719. 

“1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2018, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/pandemic-timeline-1918.htm. 

By Bharathi Arivazhagan

Bharathi Arivazhagan is a student interested in the fields of public health and molecular biology.

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