If you have been diagnosed with influenza, you may wish to discuss the following five questions with your doctor:
1. Are seasonal flu and influenza the same thing?
Seasonal flu and influenza are the same acute viral infection. However, the term seasonal flu is a broad one. To be specific, there are three variants of the seasonal influenza - Influenzavirus A, Influenzavirus B and Influenzavirus C.
• Influenzavirus A – This virus is carried by wild aquatic birds and at times transmitted to other species such as poultry through which humans get infected. Both replication and mutation are at a very fast rate when a new suitable host is found. The Spanish flu, Asian flu, Hong Kong flu, the current pandemic are all Influenzavirus Type A virus. Thus, this Type A is the most virulent human pathogens among the three influenza types and causes the most severe diseases.
• Influenzavirus B – This virus type mainly infects humans but is not as virulent as the aforementioned Type A. There are no pandemics of this type of influenza due to its limited host range (humans and seals) and slow antigen change.
• Influenzavirus C – This infects humans, pigs, dogs and can cause local epidemics. However, it is rather rare in occurrence.
2. How can I be sure that my influenza is not swine flu?
The symptoms of the 2009 H1N1/swine flu are very similar to seasonal flu. On your own, you will probably not be able to tell the difference. So if you experience flu-like symptoms – especially the overlapping symptoms in both seasonal and swine flu such as sore throat, fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, headache, fatigue and chills, you must get in touch with the doctor. Probably the only minor difference is that swine flu victims also show symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea which is usually not present in the cases of seasonal flu. The hospital will run laboratory tests which alone will determine whether you have seasonal or swine flu and require hospitalization.
3. Can my present symptoms of runny nose, fever and body ache develop into anything else?
The symptoms vary from individual to individual and also depend on the stage of the infection.