Influenza is one of the URT (upper respiratory tract) infections which results due to a viral attack on the human immune system. The viral infection of influenza combats the respiratory system, specifically affecting the patient’s throat, lungs, and nose. One of the commonly occurring misconceptions about influenza is that it is just like a common flu or cold, but it is different from all the viruses and can be serious and life threatening. The typical flu sometimes referring to influenza is not stomach flu. Although, for most people, the symptoms of influenza resolve on their own, but sometimes they do not. In some influenza cases, the symptoms turn into complications that can be fatal for the suffering patient. Pregnant women, the residents of nursing homes or hospitals, and people having higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to develop an influenza infection.
As the virus attacks the immune system; thus, the children of growing age are more likely to suffer from influenza infection. Young children, especially under the age of 5 years, are at higher risk of developing influenza. Moreover, infants below the age of 6 months are also more likely to suffer from this viral infection as their immune system is still developing. People with the weaker immune system and Native Americans are also at higher risk of developing influenza infection. Older adults, especially older than 65, have chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney diseases, liver diseases, asthma, and heart disease, are also more prone to attain the symptoms of influenza. Although the vaccine which the patients receive annually is not 100% effective, it is one’s best defense against the influenza flu.
The virus that becomes the cause of influenza infection travels through the air in the droplets from the fluid when a person with infection talks, coughs, or sneezes. A person might directly inhale the droplets from the air, or the body can catch the germs when you pick up the germs from some object. The most common germ transferring objects can be a computer keyboard or a telephone, which transfers from our hands to the nose, mouth, or eyes. The people suffering from influenza infection are prone to transfer from about a day before the appearance of symptoms. The affected person is viable to be contagious after the five days of symptoms appearing.
Younger children developing the immune system and the people with the weaker immune system might be more contagious than the normal population as they can stay contagious for a longer time. The advancing studies in medical science reveal new strains of viruses frequently, which might cause an influenza infection. The antibodies against the influenza virus strains are present in the immune system of a person who once suffers from the infection in his or her lifetime. If the influenza virus strains are similar to the one who became the cause of your previous infection, the body can fight the influenza virus’s future strains. The antibodies either coming from the vaccination or by the body’s immune system can fight the severity of influenza infection and prevent it from occurring.
However, the level of antibodies starts declining with the progression of time. Simultaneously, the antibodies that develop from the past encounter with influenza infection may not protect the body against the attack of new influenza strains. The new influenza strains might be very different from the strains that you encounter in the past. The people suffering from chronic illnesses such as asthma, lung diseases, nervous system diseases, heart diseases, blood diseases, airway disorders, metabolic disorders, or diabetes might increase their chances of developing influenza infection. Native Americans might also have an increased risk of getting influenza complications.
There are chances of developing seasonal influenza in the children of younger ages, such as the infants aging 6 months to 5-year-olds. The chances of influenza are also higher in older adults who are older than 65 years. Obese people having a body mass index (BMI) higher than 40 might have a higher risk of developing influenza infection. The complications of influenza are higher in individuals who are usually younger than 19 years of age. Moreover, the chances of influenza to develop are higher in the people receiving aspirin for longer-term because their predisposition to attain influenza increases. The people who are using aspirin therapy for longer durations are also at higher risk of getting Rye’s syndrome if they get influenza at any time in their life, which is far more dangerous and life-threatening than influenza.
The chances of influenza infection to develop are more among pregnant women, and complications are higher. Especially in their third and second trimesters, pregnant women are more prone to get infectious diseases like influenza, and that is how the infant’s health is at stake even after two to three weeks post-delivery. The individuals who work or live in facilities with many other residents, such as military barracks or nursing homes, are also at higher risk of developing the complications of influenza infection. As the hospitals are the main brewing centers for the viruses and other germs, so the patients staying at hospitals for prolonged time are also more likely to develop influenza symptoms as well as the treatments like cancer treatment, longer use of steroids, anti-rejection drugs, organ transplant, AIDS/HIV treatment, and blood cancer treatment are at higher risk of developing influenza because of their weakened immune system.