L'influence it's a infectious disease caused byInfluenzavirus, seasonal and with a high degree of contagiousness. It is one of the main diseases that characterize the autumn and winter period, and is characterized by symptoms like high fever, bone pain - arthralgia -, muscle aches - myalgia -, sweats. Often gastrointestinal symptoms such as flu are also associated with the flu nausea, vomiting is diarrhea, in what is commonly defined intestinal flu: often, however, the virus responsible is not the influenza virus but other viruses such as rotavirus or adenovirus. There duration flu goes from a few days to a few weeks for the complete disappearance of symptoms. There care is usually symptomatic, and consists mainly of antipyretics and anti-inflammatories (paracetamol - tachipirina); only in the most severe cases or in patients at risk will one be established antiviral therapy (Oseltamivir - Tamiflu). There prevention influence is possible and is done through the vaccine, which changes every year in composition, parallel to the modifications of the flu virus.
The flu virus is one disease that infects the ways respiratory and is caused by microorganisms attributable to the Ortomixoviridiae family. There are basically three types of influenza viruses: influenza type A, type B and a form that occurs rarely, namely type C.
Viruses that come from this family are often subjected to a variation of the capsid, or the protein structure that forms the virus, leading to a different type of flu: this explains the reason why we find ourselves having to deal with a different type of flu. A practical example is certainly that ofspanish flu, which affected Europe between 1918 and 1920. This virus spread rapidly also due to the lack of specific knowledge and through censorship by the authorities and the media, leading the epidemic to spread throughout the European territory and causing many deaths.
This is a less frequent type of alteration and appears at time intervals ranging from ten to thirty years. The contagion is particularly fast, given that the flu virus is transmitted by air: the flu state risks affecting everyone and if it is not treated properly, there is a risk of complications that can also affect the lungs. We must try to adopt a lifestyle that is suitable and able to cope with the flu syndrome without the latter suffering complications.
Influenza A and Influenza B
There are three types of influence that can affect humans: type A, the most virulent, type B and type C, although the latter is very rare. The first two differ from each other due to the subtypes of the virus itself, which is categorized on the basis of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, respectively a glycoprotein and an enzyme.
Hemagglutinin ranges from H1 to H8, while neuraminidase from N1 to N11. In the animal world, all subtypes have been found, while humans can only contract a few. Flu type B is confined to human and is about common flu. In this case, the capsid changes less frequently than the type A virus, so humans can develop antibodies to cope with this virus. This also limits any pandemic that can break out with the same frequency as the pathogenic virus type A.
The subcategories of the H1N1 and H2N3 viruses are viruses that have affected the population and have created pandemics. The virus H1N1, hit the world population especially in 2009: in a jargon it was defined swine flu, precisely because it was transmitted from pig farms, causing deaths in humans as well.
Even the type virus H2N3 it was isolated from pigs, but the influences differ according to the mutation already described. As was the case with avian flu (flu that spread through chicken farms in Southeast Asia), which hit the world between 2003 and 2004, there were several different strains that developed around the world. The viruses isolated differed from each other due to their different conformation, even if the symptoms were common and attributable to the type of virus A.
What are the main symptoms of the flu? THE flu symptoms they are very common and recognizable. The incubation time of the virus is very short, hyperpyrexia - temperature -, the sensations of cold, muscle and joint pain - the classics "Broken bones", they are the first manifestations to be found. Symptoms relate to headache - headache -, lack of appetite and breathing difficulties that hinder proper breathing. The sense of exhaustion increases significantly and i muscle aches - myalgias - can make movement difficult. In many cases, the intestinal system is also affected: the intestinal flu consequently leads to vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.
Often, however, the culprits of viral gastroenteritis are other types of viruses such as rotavirus, adenovirus or norovirus. One of the most common manifestations remains there breathing difficulties, which brings a series of consequences even in daily actions: the respiratory tracts are blocked by the presence of mucus, often a rhinitis (the so-called "runny nose"), sore throat is cough; also increases the sense of exhaustion - asthenia - and i muscle aches. Fever and headache also remain among the most common flu symptoms of this pathology. These signs are detectable after 1-4 days from the infection and usually lead to a quick debilitation and a sense of general exhaustion.
In severe cases, in people with a compromised immune system (people who are HIV-positive, with immunological or haematological diseases) or in people with a troubled respiratory system (for example heavy smokers or people with chronic obstructive bronchitis) the flu can lead to symptoms serious. Indeed, there may be the development of respiratory failure with air hunger - dyspnea - and oxyhemoglobin desaturation - poor concentration of oxygen in the blood -. In these cases it is mandatory to seek medical attention promptly, to start antiviral therapy and, if necessary, to be hospitalized for monitoring of vital functions in a hospital setting.
Influenza virus infection and transmission
How does the flu virus get infected? How is the flu spread? The infection and the transmission of the influenza virus occur very quickly and, as already seen, a pandemic can be reached due to the speed of incubation of the virus. The flu syndrome infects humans in the winter, although it is not explained why it develops in the colder season. There is no flu strain which develops constantly during the year, also because in the two hemispheres the winter period is totally opposite. At the moment it is hypothesized a maximum spread in winter due to the behavior of the human being, given that the flu virus is transmitted in saliva and by air.
Man, in fact, being in close contact with other individuals (spending more time at home or in closed places during the winter season) facilitates the transmission of the virus. Another explanation also concerns the lack of hydration of the mucosa, which does not allow the body to definitively expel the pathogen. In some cases the infection and transmission also occurs via animals: as already seen, some type A viruses have also been isolated from animal species and therefore pandemics can also be transported from farms. The short incubation time also leads to an ease of spread of the virus, which can infect a large number of individuals in a very short period of time.
Incubation and duration
Flu symptoms have a short duration, not least because of the time of incubation and the duration is a few days. The incubation time of the flu virus is really short: we are talking about an average of about two days, but in some cases it even reaches a few hours. During this period, the person affected by the flu is already contagious. This period of contagiousness it lasts for about two weeks, as it also develops after you get the flu. But how long does the fever last? The duration is usually about seven days. There are cases in which it also increases or decreases depending on the subject and the immune system. In children it can reach a longer duration and lasts up to ten days.
Prevention: lifestyle and flu shot
How can the flu be prevented? In order to avoid the contagion of the flu and prevent as much as possible, it is necessary to lead an adequate lifestyle. Good habits like wash thoroughly the hands they can be a good solution, also to avoid infecting other people. It is necessary to repair the mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing: we remember that the virus can travel by air, so preventing in this way can be very useful to become contagious. Oral cavities are easy routes for viruses, so any contact with these parts must be avoided.
When flu symptoms occur, it is good to stay at home and avoid crowded places: you need a rest period to restore the functionality of your body. The Ministry of Health annually issues guidelines in which there are all the advice to be able to avoid the flu or deal with it in case of contraction. The flu vaccine is instituted annually in order to cope with the risk of pandemics in the event of genetic mutations of the virus.
THE vaccines they help the development of antibodies capable of eradicating the flu and thus avoiding contagiousness, especially when it comes to the flu in children. Children should be vaccinated more frequently, especially if in close contact with other individuals. Usually even people who are over 65 years of age and in case of particular diseases, such as respiratory problems or kidney diseases, must be vaccinated. In this way the flu is limited and the body develops the necessary antibodies. There vaccination it is also needed in case of flu in pregnancy.
Complications and dangers
Influenza with even very high fevers tends to heal within a week, possibly with the help of special medicines. What to do, however, if there are complications of the disease? And above all how to recognize them? The most common complications of the flu they are mainly due to advanced age or to a precarious state of health, given by low immune defenses.
If the flu does not pass it is likely that it has evolved into something more serious, such as a virus that can affect different areas of the body: if it is a respiratory type virus, a simple flu can even evolve into viral pneumonia or a bronchial inflammation - bronchitis -. In these cases it is good to do an ultrasound or a specific visit to the bronchi and lungs; Spirometry may also be required to measure your breath and verify that there are no more severe aftermaths.
Pregnant women, for example, can have complications of respiratory flu symptoms especially if the pregnancy is very advanced: the weight of the baby who already tends to crush the lungs and bronchi, in fact, can lead to an aggravation of breathing difficulties during pregnancy. 'influence.
The elderly and the chronically ill, then, must monitor any relapses or complications of the flu because they are weaker subjects or in any case at risk. Especially the elderly can be particularly debilitated by flu symptoms and forget to eat, drink and take care of themselves: this can cause problems such as malnutrition, dehydration or hallucinations due to a high fever.
Treatment: flu therapy and remedies
How is the flu treated? What are the main remedies? Treating the flu it's very simple, and this general inflammation resolves within a few days if treated with the right means. From the point of view of the pharmacopoeia, the most important medicines are certainly the antipyretics, administrable in case of fever above 38.5 degrees. The antipyretics have a function of lowering the temperature but let the flu viruses spontaneously vent, which in doing so can follow their own course.
On the contrary, if the fevers are very high, it is necessary to hear the doctor's opinions for a possible administration of antibiotics, useful in the presence of specific viruses and impossible to fight with antipyretics. Pharmacological therapy for the treatment of influenza, however, must also be accompanied by natural therapies and food-type remedies. The first tip is to take adequate nutrients, especially drinking juice or in any case eat citrus fruits. The vitamin C intake of these fruits allows the battle against flu viruses in a more decisive way.
Following these remedies the flu passes in a few days without leaving any memory. In any case, for the treatment of the flu, it is useful to monitor the progress of fevers during the day, even with three or four temperature measurements every day. This is the only way to understand the progress of the inflammation and to intervene with antipyretics only where necessary.Tags: Infectious diseases Virus