Flu also called influenza is an infectious disease caused by influence virus. There are three different types of influenza, types A, B, C.other types of flu include:

  • Avian flu: this is a type flu present in birds
  • Swine flu: this is a common type flu president in swines or pigs
  • Gastro flu: this is also called gastroenteritis, which is caused by various bacteria or viruses such as norovirus.

How Do You Catch the Flu?

Flu is majorly transferred through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. The shedding period( time frame for a person to be infectious0 varies from one person to another. It last for an average of 12hrs to 5 days, however, children are more infectious and has a longer shedding period, which could be extended up to 2 weeks after infection. Adults in an immunocompromised state,  have more extended shedding period than children. There are three primary forms of flu transmission:

  • Direct mode: this involves the transmission of influenza virus directly from the infected person to non-infected individuals through coughing, or sneezing on the nose, mouth or eyes of an uninfected person.
  • Respiratory aerosol: this form of transmission, involves the inhalation of the influenza virus through respiratory aerosols from an infected person coughing or sneezing.
  • Contact method: This mode of transmission requires a hand to mouth, nose, or eyes contact between an infected. The virus could be contacted by touching things infected by an influenza patient. Such things that could spread flu includes bank notes, door handles, elevators, and various household appliances.

Are Elderly and Very Young People Most at Risk of Having Flu?

  • Elderly people: This group of people are predisposed to having a fly, due to their old age and decreased or weakened the immune This is common especially in people older than 65 years old

People at Risk of Having Flu

  • Pregnant women: expectant mothers are predisposed to having flu because, in this pregnant state, they need nutrients to feed themselves and the baby. However, most pregnant women don’t eat enough quality calories to sustain themselves and their children, at this moment predisposing them to have
  • Race: Some race is susceptible to having flu based on their genetics. This type of race vulnerable to having flu includes the aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander.
  • Existing medical condition: people with pre-existing or previous medical conditions, especially the ones that affect the respiratory system are predispose to having flu. This pre-existing medical condition weakens the immune system of this individuals, at this moment predisposing them to have this conditions could include various renal, cardiovascular or endocrine disease
  • Steroids: people taking steroids are prone to having flu. this is common in those taking steroids.
  • Cancer treatment: people undergoing various forms of cancer treatment are prone to having flu. contact your doctor, if you are undergoing any cancer treatment, and you notice any of the above signs and symptoms of flu.

What is the Difference Between the Flu and a Cold?

  • Etiology: Flu and the common cold are caused by different etiology, flu is caused by the influenza virus, while common cold can be caused by various strains of the virus, most commonly rhinovirus.
  • Vaccination: There is no vaccination for cold, but vaccination is available for flu. This is one of the principal preventable difference between cold and flu.
  • Body or muscular aches and pain: Muscular aches and body pain are a common symptom of flu, and it rarely occurs in common cold. Flu is often described as the severe version of the common
  • Fever: Increased in body temperature also known as fever is a common symptom of flu and rarely found in common cold. The fever in flu lasts for 3 to 4 days. This is one of the pathognomonic sign of flu when you notice you have all the common symptoms of cold and flu, and you have a fever, Lasting for 3 to 4 days.Suspect flu. The fever is always at a temperature of 100˚F (38˚C) or higher. However, chills can occur with or without fever in flu patient. This fever can be treated with NSAIDs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • A sore throat: This can occur in both flu and the common It is one of the earliest signs of flu, and it starts with an itchy and irritated throat, there is also difficulty in swallowing. This sore throat can be alleviated by taking warm water, chicken soups, or teas free from caffeine.
  • A cough: A hacking cough is present in common cold, and the cough in flu diagnosed people are more severe than a cough in people diagnosed with a common

The presence of a hacking cough can be used to differentiate between common cold and flu. A cough in flu can cause chest tightness, dyspnea, and wheeze. A cough could be productive if you notice that your phlegm is colored, consult the nearest doctor near you. It could be a complication. Bronchitis and pneumonia are the common complications of flu.  This cough form flu can be cured by taking various cough syrups, hydrating yourself by drinking a lot of water, and avoiding caffeine. To alleviate your cough during flu, stay away from coffee and other caffeine-containing products.

  • A headache: This is more common in flu, and is one of the pathognomic sign of flu. The common cold is a milder version of flu and rarely portray itself in the form of a headache. A headache in flu is consistent and persistent. This is one of the signs that help in differentiating flu from the common
  • Fatigue and weakness: Prolonged fatigue and weakness lasting 2 to 3 weeks, even after all other symptoms has disappeared a pathognomonic sign of flu. Fatigue and weakness are rare in common cold. That is why, in individuals diagnosed with flu, after the disappearance of all other stomps, they still spend days in bed, trying to recover and gather their strength. This delayed strength renewal and recovery is due to the prolonged weakness and fatigue present in flu. Extreme stress or reduced sunlight could make you feel tired, and once you rest, you would feel better. Tiredness is different from fatigue, fatigue interferes with your everyday activities, and you might be required to take a leave from your job or school to recover from the fatigue caused by flu.
  • Sneezing: this is more common in people suffering from common cold, it rarely occurs in individuals with flu. Although, some people can sneeze when they have flu.
  • General exhaustion of the body: This is a common symptom of flu, particularly in the beginning of the illness, this exhaustion often leads to fatigue that lasts for over 2-3 weeks. Generalized fatigue rarely occurs in people suffering from common cold. This is also one of the major differences between common cold and flu.
  • Muscular aches and chills: Muscular aches and chills are one of the earliest symptoms of flu, and rare in common cold. This muscular pain could be misdiagnosed as a muscular pain from a hard workout at the gym or tasking sports activity, however, if you notice muscular pain along with other symptoms, suspect flu. The chills could be alleviated by wrapping yourself in a blanket, while the muscular ache can be relieved by a group of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Gastro-intestinal problems: Flu can cause gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.it is common in flu than in common cold. The dehydration could be severe due to severe vomiting and dehydration. The dehydration could be treated with water, fruit juices, soda, sports drink, and teas free from caffeine.

What are the 6 Early Symptoms of Flu?

  1. fever
  2. strep throat
  3. cough
  4. extreme fatigue
  5. gastrointestinal problems
  6. muscular aches

Difference Between Flu and Cold

What are the Top Flu Symptoms in Children?

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Anorexia
  • Fever and rash occurring concomitantly
  • Refusal to drink liquids
  • Crying without tears

It is often difficult to differentiate a child suffering from cold or flu. Fever and increased severity of the other symptoms are the major difference between common cold and flu in children.

What are Emergency Symptoms of Flu?

  • chest tightness
  • dyspnea
  • cyanosis of skin and lips
  • progressive cough
  • Severe dehydration
  • dizziness and confusion
  • recurring and persistent fever.

Top Common Wrong Myth about Flu

  • Myth: the flu is nothing serious

Truth: it is a hazardous and highly contagious condition that can lead to various complications including death.

  • Myth: it can be cured by antibiotics

Truth: Antibiotics are used for treating bacteria-related disease, virus, not bacteria cause flu

  • Myth: supplements containing vitamin C is a specific prevention for flu

Truth: Supplements containing vitamin C is good for the body because of its anti-oxidant property, but it is not a particular preventive measure for flu.


Truth: Everyone needs vaccination, even if you are a diet or fitness guru, we all need the vaccination AGAINST FLU, AND IT IS FREE, WHY TRY TO TREAT IT, WHEN YOU CAN PREVENT IT. PREVENTION THEY SAY IS BETTER THAN CURE.

  • Myth: Cold weather and rain are responsible for cold and flu.

Truth: The etiology of flu is influenza virus and not climatic conditions. Although it is a personal disease linked to winter period, winter, rain, or cold is not the primary etiology of flu. Winter, cold or rain can make you feel cold, sneeze, or some of the symptoms of flu, but it is not the etiology of flu. Flu is called by the influenza virus.

  • Myth: Flu jab is dangerous for the baby during pregnancy.
  • Truth: Flu jab is necessary for pregnant women, and is safe through all the stages of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, don’t be scared, get a flu jab, and do your family and baby a big favor by being healthy.

How Long Does It Take to Get Over Flu?

Varies from individual to individual. According to “ center for disease control and Prevention(CDC),” it is advisable only to go back to work or normal daily activities, only after you are fever free for 24 hours without medication, or can cope with your normal daily activities without fatigue.

Should I Take the Flu Vaccine to Prevent Getting the Flu?

It is advisable to take the flu shot every year, especially if you are older than 6 months. Pregnant women are also advised to take the flu shot as a preventive measure for flu.

Should I Take the Flu Vaccine to Prevent Getting the Flu

There are two types of flu vaccine: the flu shot that is taken every year on the arm through needles, and the nasal spray vaccine which is a live attenuated vaccine

Flu can also be prevented through the following means:

  • Avoiding physical contact with sick people
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Taking enough rest when you are sick with flu, and staying away from crowded places
  • Reducing the frequency of touching your mouth and nose
  • Frequent washing of hands

Are There Home Remedies for Flu Symptoms?

There are various home remedies for the treatment of flu.

Are There Home Remedies for Flu Symptoms

Such remedies:

  • Gargling your mouth and throat with 8 oz. of warm water, 1 of salt, and 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. This helps in alleviating the sore throat symptoms of flu.
  • You can also take a mixture of lime, warm water, and honey.

Influenza may also contribute to the formation of  Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an auto-immune disease that affects the peripheral nervous system. Influenza vaccine is avoided in people that have a higher tendency of developing Guillain-barre syndrome within 6 weeks of taking the flu vaccine.

Now, that you know all about flu and what to do when you have flu, take care of yourself Contact the nearest doctor in case of any complications. And remember to stay away from coffee and caffeine-related teas when treating flu. Remember flu is not the common cold. It is a severe form of a cold and can be dangerous. Early detection, vaccination, and proper management is the key.


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Newman, T. (2016). Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/167892.php [Accessed 24 Sep. 2017].

Nhs.uk. (2017). Flu – NHS Choices. [online] Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Introduction.aspx [Accessed 24 Sep. 2017].

Nordqvist, C. (2017). Flu: Symptoms, treatment, and prevention. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/15107.php [Accessed 24 Sep. 2017].


By Biotechnology on Incline