Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu is highly contagious and is usually spread by the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. WebMD talks about flu as “Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu,’ is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring. The flu virus attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.”

There are three types of influenza virii – A, B and C. Influenza A, and B cause most of the cases of flu. Swine flu is caused by a particular strain of influenza A virus which is called H1N1v. It seems to affect children and young adults more commonly than those over the age of 60 years. Most people with this type of flu have a mild flu-like illness. You are more likely to have sickness and/or diarrhea with this type of flu.

Some of the complications caused by influenza may include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections.


Recommendations could include getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of liquids. And, since flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot help, unless the flu has led to another illness caused by bacteria. Some of the symptoms, such as a headache and body pains may be alleviated by pain killers. However, individuals with flu are advised to avoid contact with other people where possible, keep warm and rest, and, avoid alcohol and stop smoking. But then, health experts and government agencies throughout the world say that the single best way to protect one from catching the flu is to get vaccinated every year.