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Why Does the Flu Come Back Every Year?

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Channel: Seeker
Categories: Biology   |   Health   |   Science  
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What is Influenza exactly, and why does it always seem to be one step ahead of us?
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While the flu has become a slang term that refers to almost any ailment where you dont feel quite right, true influenza refers to a handful of specific viruses that invade the respiratory lining, evade the immune system, and mutate at a rate that even the worlds most brilliant doctors, scientists, and health organizations struggle to keep up with.

To learn more about what influenza is exactly, Seeker sat down with Dr. David Morens, an epidemiologist, virologist, and historian at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Morens is also an officer at the United States Public Health Service.

The flus symptoms are well-known: coughing, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and just general malaise, a.k.a. just feeling generally really bad. And while these symptoms could be a sign of many other illnesses that are similar to the flu, there is only one True Flu and it is tough to nail down the countless variations that exist.

So, weve sorted the different types of influenza into four categories: A, B, C, and D.

Find out more about the different categories of influenza, the complexities of the flu, the importance of a yearly flu shot, and more on this episode of SICK.

#FluShot #Influenza #Health #SICK #Seeker #Science

Read More:

Flu Season Is Here and Cases Are on the Rise
"About a month ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that this years flu vaccine might not be as effective as wed hoped. The four strains it was designed to target didnt match the strains circulating in the Southern Hemisphere: influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B (Victoria). As expected, those two strains that hit the Southern Hemisphere are now striking the United States in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, and Puerto Rico."

Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine
"Influenza is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children."

What you should avoid eating and drinking when you have the flu
"You don't want your body to spend its limited energy on digestion; you want it to be working on fighting the virus. So avoid fatty foods, especially if it's the unhealthy type of fat like what you'll find in pizza, burgers, fries, and other fast food."
SICK is a new series that looks at how diseases actually work inside our body. We'll be visiting medical centers and talking to top researchers and doctors to uncover the mysteries of viruses, bacteria, fungi and our own immune system. Come back every Tuesday for a new episode and let us know in the comments which diseases you think we should cover next.
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