Brett Cherry

What is Influenza?

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory and immune systems. Influenza is the Spanish word for influence, but its nickname is the flu. The flu has three different strains, or types of the virus, type A, B, and C. The flu virus can mutate and become deadly.

Symptoms of the flu

The flu has many symptoms. In the first couple of days, symptoms include sweating, headaches, coughing, weakness, and nasal congestion. If not seen by a doctor, the symptoms are muscle aches and vomiting.

How the flu spreads

The flu is spread by your mucus. When you sneeze, droplets of your mucus travel through the air and land on everything. If you touch where they sneeze, and then put your hands in your mouth, nose or eyes, then you have the flu. The worst thing about the flu is that you won't notice that you have it for the first week.

How to prevent the flu

The flu is, like I said, spread by your mucus and sneezes. In order to prevent it, WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!!!! The mucus gets all over everything and then you touch it. That's the reason your parents make you wash your hands before eating anything. Also, to help other people not get the flu, use a tissue.

People who are at high risk

Anyone at anytime could get the flu, but some people are at a higher risk. Anyone under the age of 16, anyone over the age of 65 and pregnant women are at a higher risk than anyone else. Also, anyone with bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus or ear infections are also at high risk.

Treatments and Drugs

The most helpful treatment for the flu is the flu shot. Tamiflu and Relenza can also help, but only with a doctors permission can you take these drugs. Plenty of rest and plenty of fluids will also help a lot. The most common and most effective treatment for the flu, is the flu shot or the nasal spray, which is just as effective as the flu shot.

The Cold and the Flu

Many people think that the cold and the flu are the same. They're not. Both are respiratory sicknesses, but the flu and the cold are different viruses. The flu is much worse. Colds can't hospitalize you, nor can the cold give you pneumonia. While the cold effects only your head, the flu effects your whole body.

Different types of the flu virus

Not just humans get the flu. Pigs, dogs, birds, and bats also get the flu. These types of the flu virus are not deadly to the animals, but humans could catch the variant flu, or animal to human flu. This is very deadly to humans, because there is no vaccine for this disease.


The flu is worse than you think. It has killed 50 million people and has hospitalized over 200,000 people. 90% of people who died from the flu had the vaccine. The flu is the eighth leading cause of deaths in America.

The history of the flu

Influenza has been around for a long time. In 412 BC the first epidemic of the flu was recorded by Hippocrates. In 1580, European explorers brought the flu to Africa and Asia Then, in the 1600s, brought the flu to North and South America. Not much went on, until 1918, when the Spanish Flu went all around the world, and killed 40 million people. The Spanish flu began in Fort Riley, Kansas. A bunch of troops reported to the army training camps medical tent, saying they were sick. They had huge headaches, and were vomiting. But the generals still sent the SICK soldiers to Europe, Africa, and Asia. The troops spread the flu around the world. Interestingly enough, the Spanish flu killed more German and American troops than the war itself. The Spanish flu eventually stopped for what scientists believe, nothing. It just stopped. No other pandemics have occurred since then. Most recently, scientists have found that the flu virus mutates and changes every year, in order to stay alive.

The flu vaccine

The flu vaccine was discovered in 1942 by Frank Macfarlane, after he found that you can grow the virus in a chicken egg. In 1996, scientists discovered that the flu changes every year, which would require a new vaccination every year.

The flu vaccine must be tested to see if it is safe, strong enough to kill the virus, and if it contains the right amount of ingredients. It is then combined with other vaccinations to make one vaccine for multiple viruses, the most famous one being measles, mumps, and rubella. Finally it sent to doctors and hospitals around the globe.


Ballard, Carol. From Cowpox to Antibiotics: Discovering Vaccines and Medicines. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library, 2006. Print.

"Cold Versus Flu." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 08 Feb. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

"History of the Flu Virus and Influenza Vaccination - FLUCELVAX® Flu Vaccine Influenza Virus Vaccine by Novartis." History of the Flu Virus and Influenza Vaccination - FLUCELVAX® Flu Vaccine Influenza Virus Vaccine by Novartis. Flucelvax, 09 Mar. 2014. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

"Influenza and Other Viruses Hardcover – 2001." Influenza and Other Viruses: Judy Monroe: Books. Matters. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

"Influenza (Flu) Fact Sheet." Influenza (Flu) Fact Sheet. New York State, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

"Influenza (flu)." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

Swine Influenza Symptoms. Digital image. Wikipedia. NIAID, 1 May 2009. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Tumpey, Terrence. EM of Influenza Virus. Digital image. Wikipedia. CDC, 26 Oct. 2006. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

Gathany, Jim. A Vial of Fluzone. Digital image. Wikipedia. CDC, 15 May 2005. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.