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The Flu, sometimes called Influenza, is a constantly changing virus that produces mild gastrointestinal or respiratory symptoms. The onset of the flu begins with a fever, reoccurring chills, headaches, muscle aches, pain behind the eyes, and coughing. It normally affects all the people in a community, but it is fatal only to the very young and the very old.
Research show that 25% of all people infected with this virus show no symptoms at all, while the other 75% show symptoms rapidly. When the flu is mild, about 10 to 20% of the United States population catches it. To control the temperature and pain, take aspirin or aspirin substitute. Drink lots of fluids, and use a cough suppressant to control the cough. If there is other bacterial infections such as Pneumonia, take antibiotics after consulting a doctor. Unfortunately, because the virus that causes the f lu is constantly changing, no cure is available. But there is a vaccine. The vaccine is made up of some of the viruses that cause it. It has been proven to be very effective in preventing most patients from getting the flu. If for some reason it didn't wo rk on someone, it can usually change a severe case into a much milder one.
Influenza is the only remaining pandemic disease on the earth. That means it is the only disease that is world wide spread and affects millions of people. The worst outbreak of influenza was in 1918 and 1919. The Japanese called it the American Flu, the Chinese called it the Japanese Flu, but most people know it as the Spanish flu. One fifth of the human race alive suffered the aches and fever of the Spanish Flu. Nearly twenty million people died from the disease and it's complications. In the United St ates alone, at least half a million people were killed by it.
Until 1919, scientists have been unable to pinpoint the cause of Influenza. In 1918, they believed that it was caused by a bacteria, autopsies of the victims failed to support the theory. In 1930, the first Flu virus was discovered in hogs. Three years la ter, the first human virus was tracked down. It came to be known as Influenza A. Influenza B was found later in 1940, and the third, Influenza C was found in 1947.
Type A is the most severe form and occurs in some animals such as birds and horses, while B and C show up only in humans. Only type A can cause a pandemic. Type B causes milder epidemics. Type C is not a significant cause of illness.
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