Health : what exactly happens with our body if we have the flu
For most people, the 2020 flu represents a few days when you really feel miserable. Our body hurts, we have a fever, we cough, we have a cold and our throat hurts. And we really feel very tired. During the flu, adults can take sick leave, stay at home and rest, while children have to stay out of school for a certain period of time.
But there are certain parts of the population including very young children and the elderly, for whom the 2020 flu may be more dangerous. In some cases, the flu can be fatal, although it is rarely the main cause. But what exactly happens with our body when we have the flu?
The flu virus causes an infection in the respiratory tract or nose, throat or lungs. The flu virus is usually inhaled or transmitted generally through the fingers to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes. The virus then descends to the respiratory tract or binds to the epithelial cells lining the pulmonary respiratory tract through specific molecules on the cell surface. Once inside cells, the virus hijacks the protein that makes cells to generate its own viral proteins and creates more viral particles. Once mature viral particles are produced, they are released by cells and can then invade adjacent cells.
What happens to our bodies when we get the flu 2020?
While this process causes lung damage, most of the symptoms of influenza 2020 and the flu in general are actually caused by the body's immune response to the virus. The initial immune response involves cells of the innate body's immune system, such as macrophages and neutrophils. These cells express receptors that are capable of sensing the presence of the virus. They then go on 'alarm' by producing small hormone-like molecules called cytokines and chemokines. They alert the body that an infection has been established.
Cytokines cause other compounds in the immune system to fight the invading virus, while chemokines direct these compounds to the location of the infection. One of the types of cells found in the action is T cells, a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Sometimes these cells are even called "soldiers". When T cells specifically recognize the proteins of the flu virus, and then they start to proliferate in the lymph nodes around the lungs and throat. This causes swelling and pain in these lymph nodes.
What are the symptoms of the 2020 flu virus? Are they dangerous?
After a few days, these T cells move to the lungs and start killing cells infected with the flu virus. This process creates a lot of lung damage similar to bronchitis which can create breathing difficulties. In addition, the buildup of mucus in the lungs as a result of this immune response to infection, induces coughing as a reflex to try to cleanse the airways. Normally, this damage triggered by the arrival of T cells in the palms is reversible in a healthy person, but when it is advanced, it can be quite serious and even fatal.
The proper functioning of virus-specific T cells is critical for efficient release of the virus by the palms. When T-cell function declines due to, for example, increasing age or immunosuppressive drugs, viral clearance is delayed. The result is prolonged infection and greater damage to the palms. This can also cause complications including secondary bacterial pneumonia which can often be fatal.
A runny, runny nose is one of the symptoms of the flu 2020
Why does the 2020 flu hurt so much in the head?
When the flu virus is completely contained in the palms under normal circumstances, several flu symptoms are systematic, including fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. To properly fight the flu infection, the cytokines and chemokines produced by innate immune cells in the palms become systematic, that is, they enter the bloodstream and contribute to these systematic symptoms. When this happens, a cascade of biological complications can happen.
One of the things that happens is that interleukin-1, a type of inflammatory cytokine, is activated. Interleukin-1 is important for the development of the T-cell response that kills the virus, but it also affects the part of the brain in the temperature-regulating hypothalamus, which results in fever and headaches.
Headache, stuffy nose, sore throat and muscle aches are symptoms of the flu
Another important cytokine that fights infection of the virus is sometimes called "tumor necrosis factor alpha". This cytokine can have a direct antiviral effect in the palms and this is a good thing. But it can also cause fever and loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness during the flu or other types of infection.
Why does flu 2020 cause muscle pain?
It is well known that muscle pain and weakness are typical symptoms of the flu virus. An animal-based scientific study has found that influenza infection leads to an increase in the expression of muscle-degrading genes and a decrease in the expression of muscle-building genes in the skeletal muscles of the legs. Infection with the flu virus also hinders walking and leg strength. It is important to know that in young people, these flu effects are transient and return to normal after the flu disappears.
There are flu medications
In contrast, these effects may last longer in older people. This is important, since loss of leg stability and strength can result in the elderly who are more likely to lose their balance during the recovery from the flu. It can also result in long-term loss of balance and the need to carry a cane for walking, limiting mobility and independence. Another unintended consequence of the immune response to the virus is the impact of flu infection on muscles.
It is better to stay at home and have a rest if you are sick
However, when you feel bad during the flu, you can still be reassured that this is due to the fact that our body is trying to fight the infection. It fights the spread of the virus in our lungs and kills infected cells. But there are still things you can do when you're sick to try to feel better. Here they are :
When you are sick, your body needs time and energy to fight infection with the virus, which means that you have to leave our daily routine behind for a while. You may be tempted to go shopping or clean the house, but that can only hurt you at that time. Stay at home and wear out everything else for the time being when you feel better.
In addition to helping you feel better, staying at home is also necessary to prevent the spread of the flu around you. Flu 2020 can be dangerous for the elderly or small children, so it's important to avoid contact with others when you are contagious.
Resting and hydrating helps against the flu
As mentioned, one of the symptoms of the 2020 flu is fever which usually leads to sweating. You may also have vomiting or diarrhea, so your body needs a lot of fluids to be able to replace lost fluids and to fight infection.
Water is the best way to rehydrate, but you can also drink herbal tea or herbal teas with honey. These drinks can have a calming effect on flu symptoms while keeping you hydrated. But the two things you should always avoid when you are sick are coffee and alcohol.
Sleep is the best medicine for your body when it is fighting with the infection. Watching TV while sitting on the couch isn't a bad idea, but you also don't have to stay up all night awake to do so.
So go to bed earlier than usual and sleep. You can also take short naps during the day to give your body more time to recover from the flu. Resting and sleeping also reduce the risk of developing complications from the virus, such as pneumonia.
- Soothe your breath
It can become difficult to sleep with a stuffy nose and coughing up the flu. Then try these tips to get better sleep at night when you're sick: use extra pillows below your head to ease pressure on your sinuses; sleep with a humidifier in the room or spray it before sleeping; take a warm bath or shower before going to bed.
- Eat healthy food
When you're sick, you may want to eat ice cream or chips, but your body needs better nutrition to recover from the flu. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will help boost your immune system when it fights the virus. You may not have much appetite, but it is still important to eat regularly to maintain your strength.
- Add humidity to the air
Dry air can make flu symptoms worse. The spray bottle or humidifier makes the air more humid and can help reduce congestion. There are several types of humidifiers and vaporizers available in the market. They can be easily found for a reasonable price in stores or pharmacies.
- Take flu medicine
In the pharmacy you can find lots of drugs for the treatment of influenza. Some of these drugs are specially designed for specific symptoms of the virus such as a stuffy nose, while others treat several symptoms at once.
- Pain medication can help relieve fever, headache, and muscle pain. Such drugs are for example ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Decongestants such as pseudoephedrine can help open the nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure.
- Cough medicines, such as dextromethorphan, can be used to relieve dry cough.
- Expectorants can help shed thick mucus and are useful for wet coughs that produce mucus.
- Antihistamines have a sedative effect that can help you sleep.
Be sure to read the medication leaflet carefully to take the necessary dose of each medication and to make sure that you are not combining any medications that are not compatible. Children and teens should never take aspirin for the flu because it can have very serious side effects at home.
Elderberry has been used for hundreds of years to treat flu and colds. In a placebo-controlled study, sick people who consumed elderberry lozenges four times a day had relief from fever, headache, muscle aches, stuffy nose and coughing after 48 hours.
A larger study found that 300mg of elderberry capsules taken three times a day reduced cold and flu symptoms and the duration of viruses. Different elder syrups, capsules and lozenges are available in specialty stores and pharmacies. But you should avoid eating raw elderberry as it can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Elderberry is a complementary therapy, so make sure that you treat your symptoms also with appropriate medication.
Honey is a common natural remedy for soothing a sore throat or cough. Drinking tea with honey is a great way to stay hydrated while relieving your symptoms. In a scientific study, scientists found that a dose of honey is more effective in controlling cough overnight than cough syrups in children 2 to 18 years of age with upper respiratory tract infections. You should not give honey to children under the age of one.
- Visit your attending physician
Antiviral drugs are only available by prescription, so if you feel sick it is best to see your doctor. Antiviral drugs are typically reserved for people who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu. These drugs prevent the 2020 flu virus from developing and reproducing, and they work better if they are priced within the first 48 hours from the onset of symptoms. You can ask your doctor for antiviral medication if: if it is a child under 5 years of age; if it is a child 18 years of age or younger who is taking aspirin; if you are at least 65 years old; if you are pregnant or have a baby less than two weeks old; if you have a chronic medical condition or are taking medications that can weaken your immune system; if you are extremely obese.
The most commonly prescribed antiviral medication is oseltamivir. Taking antiviral drugs within two days of the onset of symptoms can reduce both the duration and the severity of flu or cold symptoms.