Influenza or the widespread disease that is typically identified as `Flu` for most locations of the globe. It is actually infectious and brought on by a virus referred to as RNA. It belongs to the family of Orthomyxoviridae and affects birds and mammals.
The commonest indicators of this disease are chills, sore throat, fever, muscle pains, coughing, severe headache, general weakness and discomfort. In its severe form, influenza can also cause pneumonia and this can prove to be fatal, especially for those who are young and also the elderly. Influenza can also lead to nausea which may lead to vomiting in children, though these are symptoms in case of `stomach flu` only.
As a general rule, influenza is spread by air through a patient`s coughs and sneezes, which creates aerosols holding the virus. Bird flu can also spread due to bird droppings, saliva, feces, nasal secretions or blood. A person can get infected by coming in close contact with these bodily fluids or through contact with polluted surfaces. Most infections are a result of airborne aerosols, though which form of spread is most deadly is not completely clear till now. Common flu viruses are easily inactivated using detergents, disinfectants and sunlight.
Common flu distributes across the planet as temporary epidemics, and results in enormous amounts of deaths every year, usually the number may hint the million amount too in an outbreak season. During the 20th century itself, 3 influenza pandemics occurred and millions of people died due to it. Each of the pandemic was a result of a unique species of virus in the humans. This generally happens when a prevalent virus is transmitted to humans from some other animal.
An avian virus by the name of H5N1 did ring an alarm bell as a new flu pandemic in Asia during the 90s, but till now it hasn`t evolved as a form which can spread easily between two people. Once again in the spring 2009 a brand new kind of flu has developed that has joined genetics from pig, human being, and the lethal chicken flu. Dubbed as `swine flu`, it popped up in Mexico, US and also some other nations.
Symptoms of influenza tend to start all of a sudden, just one or two days after catching the infection. In most cases the initial symptoms are chills and a chilly sensation, though fever is also quite common from the early period only. Many people feel so ill and weak that they have to be confined to their beds for several days, with complaints of pains and aches throughout their bodies, especially in backs and legs. Other symptoms of common flu include aches in throat and joints, feeling very cold, fatigue, irritation in eyes or watering of eyes, headache, reddening of eyes, mouth, skin, nose and throat.
In accordance to the WHO, each year enormous amounts of men and women get the common flu. For most people it is just means missing one week of work but elderly people run a high risk of death due to this. The global death count number for this reason is just about a number of hundred thousand men and women. Common flu can affect even absolutely healthier men and women and at any age group. But old people, children and people with chronic medical conditions can develop complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus or ear infections easily.
All around the world, common flu creates direct costs simply because of loss in production and relevant medical remedy, and also oblique costs due to precautionary methods used. In US alone it costs about billion per year. Preventative costs can be quite high too. Worldwide governments have to spend billions of. dollars in preparation and planning for a probable avian flu pandemic in terms of drugs and vaccines along with developing disaster exercises and improving strategies on border controls.