Influenza is the leading cause of hospitalization among the US population. Symptoms vary from season to season, but only viruses A and B can lead to pandemics. How will society respond upon the next pandemic? Take a closer look at influenza outbreaks and the different types of viruses on this blog post!
Classifying the Influenza Virus A, B, and C
There are three types of Influenza A viruses – H1N1, H3N2, and swine flu. Swine flu is a subtype of Influenza A virus, which is responsible for the pandemic in 2009-2010.
H1N1 causes seasonally-influenced respiratory illness (SIRI) including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. This virus is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing.
H3N2 causes mainly seasonal respiratory illness, but can also cause severe pneumonia if contracted through cross-contamination with other infections. This virus is less contagious than H1N1 and may only spread through close contact with an infected person cough or sneeze.
Swine flu is a subtype of Influenza A that causes a severe form of pneumonia. This virus is highly contagious and can be spread through close contact with an infected person or through droplets that are expelled when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes.
Causes of Flu
There are many types of Influenza A viruses, and they can cause a range of different illnesses. Some of the big names associated with this virus include swine flu, human pandemic influenza A (H1N1), and seasonal flu.
Each type of Influenza A virus is caused by a different strain of the virus, and each strain can cause a different set of symptoms. For instance, H1N1 is caused by a strain called H1N1pdm09, while seasonal flu is caused by varieties like swine flu (A/Swine/US2013).
However, regardless of the type of Influenza A virus, all strains share some common characteristics. For instance, all Influenza A viruses are highly contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing. They are also relatively hard to treat with traditional prescription antibiotics, so it’s important to get vaccinated if you’re potentially exposed to the virus.
Symptoms of Type A influenza
Influenza variants cause a range of symptoms, some more serious than others. Here are the most common Type A influenza symptoms: fever, body aches, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and headache. However, not all people experience all of these symptoms. The severity of symptoms also varies from person to person. Some people experience just a mild case of the flu while others develop complications such as pneumonia.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms and you’re unsure whether they’re related to the Type A influenza virus or another illness, contact your health care provider: fever above 38 degrees Celsius (101 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than three days, severe body aches or pain that won’t go away, trouble breathing or chest pain, vomiting or diarrhea that lasts for more than two days, pain or weakness in one or both legs that persists for more than two weeks.
Flu Prevention Tips
As the flu season approaches, it’s important to remember the three most common types of influenza viruses: A (H3N2), B (H1N1) and C (H7N9). Knowing the different variants of these viruses can help you make informed decisions when it comes to protecting yourself from the flu.
Type A variants are responsible for most of the seasonal flu infections, and they’re most commonly spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva or mucus. They can also be spread through close contact with an infected surface, such as a door handle or countertop. In very rare cases, type A variants can be spread through airborne particles.
Type B viruses cause primarily respiratory infections and account for about 30 percent of all influenza cases. Type B viruses are spread through respiratory droplets, such as when you sneeze or cough. They can also be spread through close contact with an infected surface, such as a countertop.
Type C viruses are rare and only cause a mild form of the flu. They’re mostly spread through respiratory droplets from people who are infected but don’t have any symptoms at all.