Understanding Flu

Flu is a common illness, but there is still much confusion about what constitutes as flu and what doesn’t. There are several different strains of the virus. Here is some useful information detailing the different types, some of which can cause serious illness in people.

Seasonal Flu

This is the type of flu we hear about the most as the strains cause illness for several months of every year. Each flu season is different, depending on the strain and where in the world you are. There are three main types of flu virus that cause seasonal flu infections – A, B and C. To do your bit in the fight against flu, consider taking part in Paid Research Studies with  https://www.trials4us.co.uk

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Influenza A

This is the strain that’s usually responsible for outbreaks of seasonal flu. It is an illness that affects both humans and animals, being spread by individuals already infected. It is spread through indirect contact, such as touching items that an infected person has touched and from being in the same room as someone who might be coughing or sneezing. There are even strains of Influenza A that fall under subcategories H and N.

Influenza B

This can also cause seasonal outbreaks and can be very harmful, although it is considered less severe than Type A and cannot cause pandemics.

Influenza C

This type only affects humans and is milder than both A and B. It usually causes mild respiratory symptoms and has never been known to cause seasonal epidemics. Symptoms are similar to that of a cold.


Any of the flu viruses has the potential to develop into a pandemic, meaning a mass outbreak in humans across the world in a short time. Flu pandemics of history include the 1918 pandemic which killed millions of people across the world.

H1N1 – Swine Flu

During the first few months of 2009, a new flu strain was discovered in Mexico that soon spread throughout North America and the rest of the world. H1N1 is a mix of human, bird and swine flu and was the first flu pandemic in over 40 years.

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H5N1 – Bird Flu

Also known as bird or avian flu, it is normally spread between birds but it has been known to pass from bird to human. Thakfully, it cannot be transferred between humans. When a person is infected, the illness is severe and could include organ failure and a high death rate. More than half of those infected with bird flu die from it. The risk of contracting H5N1 is low but if the virus mutates to be spread from person to person, it would be a highly serious pandemic.

Not the flu

Many people claim to be suffering from flu when they aren’t really. For example, someone with vomiting and diarrhoea is more likely to be suffering from gastroenteritis. It is often called stomach flu but has nothing to do with influenza, which is a respiratory virus.