The Influenza Virus

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The Influenza Virus

Christina Cannady, Staff Writer

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The influenza virus, better known as the flu, is a highly contagious virus that affects the nose, throat and lungs. The flu is an untreatable virus that is spread  person to person and often lasts one to two weeks. The virus can be very severe and even lead to death in some cases. People often get the flu during flu season, but it can be contracted any time of year.

Flu season starts around the end of the year, in the Autumn and winter months. The 2017-2018 season began to peak in November and lasted through the end of March. It has already begun this year and there are ways to prevent yourself from catching the virus.

Flu symptoms usually appear suddenly. However, detecting symptoms of the virus early can help to lessen its severity. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle aches, chills, high fever, congestion, and headaches. Some people may also experience dry coughs or coughs with phlegm, dehydration, runny nose, nausea, sore throat, and loss of appetite as well.

Avoiding people with the virus is the best way to avoid catching the flu. Someone who has the flu should avoid public places, if possible. If going out is necessary, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing reduces the chances of someone else catching the flu. Washing hands often greatly reduces the spread of the virus.

There are several different strains, or types, of influenza. Fortunately, there are vaccines available as a preventative measure. It is recommended that the very young and the very old get the vaccine before the peak of flu season because there immune systems are more susceptible to viruses. Also,

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anyone with a weakened immune system is at greater risk of getting the flu.

There are some controversies with the flu vaccine, however. Many people believe that the vaccine can give people the flu. New scientific findings occur all the time and can be conflicting in their conclusions. Many people find these conflicts of opinion confusing and therefore distrust the use of the vaccines. Others believe that it’s not worth getting the flu shot because it’s not 100% effective.

The flu virus is extremely contagious and can be very severe. Although there are ways to prevent the virus, once you have it, it has to run its course. Taking precautionary measures to avoid the flu, especially during flu season, is the best way to avoid the misery of the flu virus.