The Flu and You

One morning you wake up and you feel awful.  This is strange, because you felt great yesterday.  What happened?  Your body aches, your head feels stuffy, and your nose is dripping.  You may be running a temperature, feel hot and cold, have a cough, and feel all around tired.  This is not your “run of the mill” cold.  Instead, you have the flu.

Recently, there have been some serious flu scares in various parts of the world.  However, the flu is treatable, and recent developments in the flu vaccine make it possible to prevent it as well.  The flu is an illness that affects the respiratory system.  The flu virus attaches itself to the surface of healthy cells, and then releases its genetic information into the healthy cell, where it replicates and takes over the cell.  It is essentially a cellular parasite.  The healthy cell eventually dies, and the replicated virus is released into the body to continue wreaking havoc.  The virus causes swelling in the respiratory tissues and as the body works to fight the virus off it can cause coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fatigue, fever, and aches.  Symptomatically, it is quite similar to a cold, just more severe.  Due to this difference in severity, however, if improperly treated, the flu can lead to more serious problems such as pneumonia or ear infections.  If you have used one of the flu test kits on the market, and know that you have the flu, speak with your doctor about how best to treat it.  With proper treatment, you can be back on your feet in no time.

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