The Flu – What Is It Really?
Instead of one to completely understand how the flu behaves, they must develop a basic understanding of the difference between a bacterium and a virus. They are both tiny germs capable of invading the human body. As of their genetic structure, they can generate unusual symptoms in response to the way the body reacts to them. The variations they generate to the body on a cellular level created several of the symptoms.
Over the last 50 years, scientists have developed a thorough system to fight the growth of bacteria by developing antibiotics. Originally thought that antibiotics would influence viral infections. However, research has shown that taking antibiotics while one remains infected by a virus could be deeply detrimental to their health. Therefore, they not only fail to treat the viral infection, but they also increase the risk of developing a secondary bacterial infection. (1, 2)
The flu is a viral illness that stays contracted from contact with a person who is infected, or by encountering unwashed, infected surfaces. After the virus moves into the body, it lives in the back of the throat. Here, its multiples until it reaches a viral load where it can successfully affect its host.
You may notice that the way the virus transmitted, and its associated mechanisms are identical to those of the common cold. While this may be true, the flu is not the same as a cold, not even on a genetic level. They originate from separate viruses, and they mutate in very different rates and methods.
It is true that the common cold and the flu share various of the same symptoms. The common cold will cause an unpleasant, nevertheless mild set of symptoms. The flu, on the other hand, causes more severe symptoms and is more likely to trigger serious, possibly life-threatening complications.
What Class of Virus is The Flu?
The flu remains categorized as a contagious viral illness affecting the respiratory system. Depending on the strain of the virus, and the immune system of its host, it will initiate symptoms ranging from mild to severe. At times, the severe effects it can have on the human body can be fatal, especially if qualified medical professionals do not treat it.
Since, of the potential for developing severe, life-threatening complications, the CDC recommends that people take charge of their own health care and take the right steps to prevent contracting the flu virus. Prevention can be as simple as getting a flu shot every year and following proper health and safety precautions, like washing your hands after touching things, or eating.
Statistics show that between 5% and 20% of the American population contract the flu each year. Unfortunately, out of the people who do not receive the vaccine on an annual basis, 360 people die from flu related complications, or the severity of their symptoms. To make this statistic even more sad, most of the sufferers are in children, elderly, and those who are immune compromised. The subsection of the immune compromised population most affected are asthmatics, diabetics, and people with heart disease. (3)
Fortunately, scientists are constantly looking for ways to better map out the methods in which the flu transmits from one person to another, and the way the virus grows once it does enter the body. Since, of their breakthroughs, they can provide new information to the public constantly by utilizing the media. Recently, scientific goals focused on natural products people can successfully use to prevent contracting the flu, and treat the virus once they have developed symptoms.
What Symptoms Are Experienced with the Flu?
People who do contract the flu will suffer from unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms can range from high fevers, chills, muscle aches and pains, sore throat, runny and stuffy nose, fatigue, and a dry cough. While these are the most common symptoms, others may experience additional symptoms, like stomach aches, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and even diarrhea. While these additional symptoms are possible in any case, they are more likely to manifest in children than in adults.
People who suffer from a severe case of the flu may experience more severe symptoms. They may develop bacterial pneumonia, sinus infections, painful ear infections, and possible dehydration. These bacterial invasions occur typically affected by a weakened immune system trying to fight off the virus, and accidentally allowing bacteria to infiltrate the body.
Where Did the Flu Get Its Name?
The flu received its name as an abbreviation of the virus initiating the illness, influenza. The flu is a group of respiratory diseases caused by infection by the influenza A. or influenza B. viruses. Both viruses are more active in the winter months, and in the cooler, early part of spring. This pattern has taken place mapped out scientifically, which makes it easier for medical providers to organize prevention and treatment methods for individuals, and groups of individuals.
This scientific research has also pinned down various methods people unknowingly reduce their risk of contracting the virus. For example, people who spend more time outside and eat a diet that allows them to take in high amounts of vitamin D directly exposed to sunshine during the winter and early spring, have a much lower risk for contracting the flu virus in the event they remain exposed to it. (4, 5, 6)
How to Know If You Have the Flu.
The common cold and the flu virus usually cycle around communities at the same time. The symptoms of both viruses can be very similar, but the symptoms experienced with the flu are a lot worse than the common cold can cause. The common cold will drag you down and make you miserable. The flu will make you miserable to the point where you cannot even drag yourself out of bed.
To date, science has tracked down more than one-hundred strains of the cold virus. Most of these viruses do not mutate past their original form, so the strains are easy to track. The flu virus is much more difficult to track down as new strains evolve every couple of years, which makes vaccinating difficult.
Because, the strains of flu virus change every few years vaccines must change with them. Developing these vaccines can be extremely difficult since scientists are not able to anticipate exactly what genetic mutations will take place with the flu virus. All vaccines developed using live samples from the previous year’s flu outbreak, which leaves people open to developing a mild case of the virus, even if they have remained vaccinated.
How Does the Flu Virus Spread?
The flu virus spreads from one person to another through infected respiratory secretions. This means that any fluid originating in the mouth or nose might infected during flu season. These secretions typically released when someone sneezes or coughs without using the right precautions. Since, the flu virus is easy to transmit from person to person, any surface these secretions encounter can be infected, and become an object of transmission.
Since, the virus is easy to transmit, people who live in close quarters are at higher risk for contracting the virus. Classrooms, college dorms, hospitals, nursing homes, and office buildings are prime locations to get sick.
Something as simple as coughing into one’s hand, sneezing without covering their mouth and nose, or did not wash their hands before touching services can leave others at risk. Once the surface is infected, all a person must do is touch the surface and then touch near their mouth, near their nose, or anywhere on their face. Even if one touches a doorknob and later rubs their eyes, they are exposing themselves to a hearty dose of the virus.
After being exposed, the virus takes between 24-hours to four days to incubate before the person begins to show symptoms.
The flu virus typically lasts between one to two weeks. Treatment is symptom management and immune support. Most people who contract the flu find that their immune system can fight it off and heal their body without medical care. However, the body requires plenty of fluids, a lot of rest, medications for fever, and proper nutrition. One should never follow the old wife’s tale of “feed a cold, starve a fever” as it has no scientific basis. To properly heal, the body needs plenty of calories and an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals to fight off a virus.
Herbal Remedies for the Flu.
Influenza is a virus that has always struck fear in the hearts of people. Between 1918 and 1919, more than 20 million people lost their lives because of the influenza virus, and the serious complications it might cause. The primary cause of these the deaths between 1918 and 1919 affected by the virus weakening the immune system, allowing a secondary infection to creep in.
Even though most people able to fight off the flu with a properly maintained immune system, lack of publication surrounding boosting the immune system, and the methods in which the virus exists transmitted. The lack of knowledge surrounding the virus allowed it to spread quickly without any precautions, which proved to be deadly.
What to Expect from The Flu?
Most people who contract the flu find it extremely irritating and uncomfortable, but the symptoms typically resolve on their own. The most effective method to treat the flu is through preventative measures, like ensuing universal sanitary precautions. This involves eating right, keep the immune system healthy, regular hand washing, and not touching the eyes, ears, or nose. Good hygiene goes a long way in preventing a person from contracting the flu virus.
Fighting Back Against the Flu Virus.
If a person does get the flu, there are many powerful, herbal home remedies capable of decreasing the severity of symptoms, and helping the body fight the condition faster.
Scientific research has determined that taking a vitamin C supplement, in the form of ascorbic acid is able to boost the immune system, which increases the number of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are the immune cells. They are the cells that combat the viral cells one on one. Therefore, ensuring that your body has the power to create cells to replace the ones that died in battle is extremely important.
Vitamin C supplements can easily purchase at a local grocery store, health food store, pharmacy, and even at a Family Dollar Store. They come in many forms, such as compressed powder, capsule, chewable, and even a powder that you can mix into your drink.
Adding a Multivitamin that contains zinc can be a great help to the human immune system. If a person does not want to take a multivitamin, or their current multivitamin does not contain an adequate amount of zinc, zinc lozenges can be purchase at various of the same location’s as vitamin C. If zinc lozenges are start when the initial symptoms begin, the severity of symptoms, and the length of suffering decreased from the illness.
Although it is important to be careful, and every person should educate themselves on the symptoms of zinc toxicity, it is possible for zinc lozenges to provide a level of prophylactic barrier during the season where the flu is most common. Since, there is a risk of developing zinc toxicity, it is important that individuals only use zinc lozenges if they exposed to people who may be carrying the influenza virus. (7)
Garlic is an herb found in most kitchens around the world. Garlic considered as a miracle herb since proven to decrease the presence and growth of viruses that are already inside the human body. It also provides antibacterial properties, which can help prevent a secondary bacterial infection in those already infected with the flu virus. If one would like a more potent option for ingesting garlic, or simply does not like the flavor, garlic capsules area available at pharmacies, health food stores, and online. (8)
When a person is sick, there are many benefits to drinking herbal tea. The heat of the tea helps relieve aches and pains, the steam helps break up congestion and soothe a sore throat, and the ingredients can help fight the flu virus from the inside out.
Combine 1 teaspoon grated Ginger root, 1 teaspoon Bayberry Bark, and ½ teaspoon cayenne powder. Mix into a mug of boiling water. Sip throughout the day.
Cats claw scientifically proven to shorten the length of time a person suffers from flu symptoms. It also could improve the way a person feels while they are ill, allowing the body a better chance to fight the virus. When mixed with Echinacea, it has the power to improve the body’s immune system, preventing the virus from replicating. (9)
Research into elderberries have shown that it has significant antiviral properties. It can prevent the virus from replicating inside the human body, reducing the severity of symptoms. The research completed was based on black elderberries. Moreover, isolated to a product called Sambucol, which can be purchase online. (10)
Anise and Boneset.
Anise is a very potent herb which proven to stimulate the production of mucus in the lungs and throat. Boneset is a helpful expectorant. When combined, the two herbs can allow the body to utilize mucus production to push the virus out of the body.
Choosing Herbs Carefully
It is important for each person to choose the herbs they use carefully, especially when they are ill. Consult with an herbalist, and read up on uses of herbs, safety, and each product you are considering.
It is extremely important that you consult your doctor or a pharmacist if you are on medication, or if you have a preexisting health condition. When herbs ingested, can cause adverse reactions on some medical conditions. The primary conditions that react to herb are diabetes, asthma, and pregnancy.
Do not assume that since something is herbal, it is automatically safe. Herbs do have medical value, some react positively in the body and others react negatively in the body.
NOTE: This article is republished by Sejati Tuisyen under permission from the original author.
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