It’s estimated that up to 12 million US citizens will have been affected by the flu in the last six months alone. At some point in your life, you’re likely to catch the flu. But did you know that there are different types of flu?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of flu and what you can do to help protect yourself and your loved ones.

What Is the Flu?

The flu, also known as influenza is the name given to respiratory infections that are caused by several influenza viruses. They are highly contagious and the virus enters your body through either your mouth, nose, or eyes.

The most common flu symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Muscle soreness
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

While the symptoms may be similar, not all cases of flu are made equally. Let’s take a look at the different types of flu and how each type can affect you. The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to know about the flu.

Type A Influenza Virus

The type A influenza virus is the most problematic of the different flu types. They are often originally transmitted from wild birds to humans and have caused the most notable flu outbreaks in human history. The Spanish Flu, Swine Flu, and Bird Flu were all caused by type A influenza viruses.

Type A influenza symptoms tend to be the most severe. The virus is constantly changing and this is why it causes such large epidemics. Fortunately, as with all types of flu, most people will recover on their own with rest. However, people with underlying health conditions and the elderly can be at greater risk of developing more serious symptoms.

If your symptoms seem severe, then it is important to visit your healthcare provider to check for any possible complications that can be caused by contracting the flu.

Type B Influenza Virus

Where the type A influenza virus is passed from animal to human, the type B flu virus is only found in humans. It is less common than type A, and the symptoms are usually less severe.

It mutates much slower than type A meaning that there is much less chance of a pandemic as a result of the type B influenza virus. While the symptoms are generally milder than type A viruses, some cases of type B viruses can be serious.

Type C Influenza Virus

Type C flu viruses are also only found in people. They are the least severe of the different influenza types. Individuals seldom become very ill from contracting type C viruses and most symptoms can be likened to the common cold. Type C viruses can occasionally cause lower respiratory infections in young children.

Protecting Yourself From the Different Types of Flu

Due to the way that the different types of flu can mutate over time, it might be impossible to completely protect yourself from ever getting the flu. Taking an influenza vaccine is a great way to protect yourself from current strains of the flu, but they can’t account for undiscovered variations.

During flu season it’s important to take extra care and be sure to cover your mouth when you sneeze and wash your hands regularly. This helps to minimize the chance of you catching and spreading the flu virus.

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