Overview of Influenza: History and Threats

Published: 2021-06-28 16:15:04
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Category: Health Care, Illness

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Influenza is different from most diseases, most people have had a strain of it at some point in their life and don’t know about it. However, an outbreak of a strain of Influenza (Spanish Flu) killed as many as 100,000,000 people worldwide. Since, this 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the “Spanish Flu” during World War One (World Health Organization). The Influenza (or Flu for short) has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. However, modern medicine, like vaccines have been developed to counter The Flu. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C. for short), the Flu can develop new strains. Therefore, The Flu has an infamous history, can change, and be dangerous if not taken seriously.
Over the course of history many events have taken place, some of them were positive like fire and the wheel. However, some of these were horrible like the outbreak of Spanish Flu during World War One. Before Flu vaccines were invented people feared The Flu as it could ravage entire populations. But, ever since the Flu Vaccine was invented, people think of The Flu as a minor inconvenience. Some children even go as far as to try to get The Flu to miss school, which is ironic considering in the Twenties if anyone got The Flu their family started saying goodbye to the person infected. In addition, the Flu has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, so the virus isn’t recent nor has it been a “minor disease”.Influenza can change, which means that even if there is already a vaccine for a strand of Influenza the virus could change. However, it can only change in two ways, Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift. Antigenic Drift is when the virus slowly changes over a long period of time, for example when a virus duplicates and creates copies of itself ,but there are tiny changes that happen and given enough time the virus itself can change, creating new strands/strains. Antigenic Shift however, is more dangerous because the virus’s proteins change suddenly. The same Flu virus had an antigenic shift in 2009 causing an epidemic. Plus, there are 2 types of viruses, Type A and Type B. Crazily enough, some Flu strains/strands also affect animals. Therefore, The Flu is a unique disease that has many strains and strains of itself all of which have the potential to be deadly.
When someone has The Flu it can’t be necessarily dangerous for the infected with all the treatments and preventions that are readily available. In spite of this, The Flu can create new strands and cause another outbreak of Influenza. Furthermore, some people have weakened immune systems which makes them more susceptible to an attack from one of the strains/strands of The Flu. So, doctors create an annual vaccine (a medication that has the weakened form of a virus to help the vaccinated body acquire immunity) that has the predicted strain of a virus during that year. Besides, according to sources on The National Institute of Health, animal viruses can change into human viruses, and vice versa. Surprisingly, The Flu almost never causes upset stomachs, but it can cause fever, drowsiness, aches, stuffy noses, and a sore throat. Nevertheless, doctors want babies, aged people, expectant mothers, and people who are already fighting a disease to get vaccinated.
Yet, The Flu is easily curable if people are infected with it. As reported by Mayo Clinic, taking antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after you notice symptoms may reduce the length of the illness and prevent more serious problems.
To conclude, Influenza has a violent past, could develop into something new, and can be perilous.

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