What is flu?
How does a flu virus make me sick?
Flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of your nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you are possibly infecting yourself with a virus.
This makes it very important to keep your hands germ-free with frequent and thorough hand washing. Encourage family members to do the same to stay well and prevent flu.
What are the different types of flu?
There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that have up to 20% of the population sniffling, aching, coughing, and running high fevers. Type C also causes flu; however, type C flu symptoms are much less severe.
Each year, the flu is linked to an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations in the United States. The seasonal flu vaccine was created to try to avert these epidemics.
What is type A flu virus?
Type A flu or influenza A viruses are capable of infecting people as well as animals; although it is more common for people to suffer the ailments associated with this type of flu. Wild birds commonly act as the hosts for this flu virus.
Type A flu virus is constantly changing and is generally responsible for the large flu epidemics. Influenza A2 virus (and other variants of influenza) is spread by people who are already infected. The most common flu hot spots are those surfaces that an infected person has touched and rooms where he or she has been recently, especially areas where he or she has been sneezing.
What is type B flu virus?
Unlike type A flu viruses, type B flu is found only in humans. Type B flu may cause a less severe reaction than type A flu virus, but occasionally, type B flu can still be extremely harmful. Influenza type B viruses are not classified by subtype and do not cause pandemics.
How is type C flu virus different from the others?
Influenza C viruses are also found in people. They are, however, milder than either type A or B. People generally do not become very ill from the influenza type C viruses. Type C flu viruses do not cause epidemics and are not classified according to subtype.