Five Ways the Influenza Virus Affects Your Body

The flu season is generally a very busy time for doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and walk-in clinics.  It can make anyone feel miserable for several days, and in some cases, can cause multiple complications.

Influenza Can Be Very Serious

Some people assume the flu will come and go, as a cold, however, that is not the case for many. Babies, children, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system face a serious threat from the influenza virus.

One of the most effective treatments for the flu is Tamiflu, which works by preventing the flu virus from multiplying and reducing the symptoms.

In terms of the flu, children under the age of two are especially at risk of complications. Nasal passages and lung airways are still small, which can make it difficult to breathe–this combined with immature immune systems, makes the influenza virus especially dangerous for infants and toddlers.

The elderly are also considered a high-risk group for influenza. With decreased mobility and poor nutrition, it can make flu very hard on a senior’s body. The reality is, the flu makes you want to go to bed, however, with older people, lying in bed can make lungs weak and allow for fluid retention.

In fact, influenza in the elderly often leads to pneumonia.

Influenza Symptoms

So, how do you know if you have the flu or just a bad cold? There are some major differences to separate the flu from the common cold.

A cold can leave your body feeling under the weather, tired and without an appetite. You may also experience congestion, a cough and a slightly sore throat.

The flu, on the other hand, will leave your body feeling terrible. All over aches and pains simply make everything hurt and you don’t want to move. A temperature often accompanies the flu and should be monitored closely.

In addition, nasal and chest congestion can make it difficult to breathe, and can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.

Treating Influenza

So, you have the flu, what’s next?  Do you treat it at home or head to the doctor’s office?

Much of this depends on existing medical conditions. Healthy adults can often treat the flu at home with over-the-counter medications.

Acetaminophen can help reduce fever and help with aches and pains. It is also essential to get plenty of rest as the flu virus takes a toll on the body, and can lower a healthy immune system, causing the body to be more susceptible to other illnesses.

What Influenza Does to The Body

The influenza virus has different effects on different people. In general, it can leave you feeling weak and lethargic.

Some flu strains turn into bacterial infections that can settle within the sinuses, chest or ears. It is common to cough excessively, and to have difficulty breathing through the nose.

This often creates a dry, irritated throat and can cause extreme irritation.

Influenza’s Lasting Effects

The flu is not something that you contract one day, and it’s gone the next. Even when the virus itself subsides, you will be left feeling weak, and unable to perform at your normal levels.

If you are prone to fever blisters, they may develop as well. The flu lowers your immunity, which can last quite a long time.

Final Thought

Influenza will leave you feeling like you were hit by a large truck, and forced to get up and keep going.  Your best defense is to avoid the flu as best you can, and protect yourself with medication.