Causes of Influenza

Influenza viruses (A, B) are the causes of a large number of respiratory sickness that strike almost every winter. These types are usually linked to influenza related hospitalizations and deaths. Type C influenza viruses, unlike their A and B counterparts wreak no or mild respiratory symptoms and do not cause severe public health problems of the A and B influenza types. Hence, the focus of control of the ill effects of influenza is on the A and B types.

Flu viruses mutate regularly by constant changing of the viruses RNA. This mutation better enables the virus to escape its host’s immune system whether the host is birds, humans or other animals. This amazing advantage makes the host susceptible all its life to viral flu infections. This mechanism starts with the host creating antibodies to go after the virus; when the virus’s DNA changes, the created antibody no longer recognizes the altered virus and infection usually follows since the host has no other natural recourse to kill the virus. The created antibody can in certain situations partially protect the body from the new flu virus. When the H1N1 virus arrived in 2009, very few people in the world had no antibodies to identify and fight this novel form of flu virus immediately.

Viruses of the A Type come in two surface proteins (neuraminidase (N) and hemagglutinin (H)) and they can develop into various combinations. When these viruses are disseminated in the environment through direct contact or by droplets, the viruses can enter the host and can either get killed by the hosts’ immune system or be able to increase in the respiratory tract and attack the healthy cells of the host. People with a compromised immune system (individuals with pulmonary disease, asthma patients, cancer patients, pregnant females and others), the flu virus can further weaken their body’s immune system making it more vulnerable to bacterial infections like bacterial pneumonia or develop viral pneumonia. Both bacterial and viral pneumonia types can lead to more serious diseases and even to death.

The flu virus can easily be transmitted from person to person. It can spread when one either comes into direct contact with someone’s infected secretions (using the infected person’s objects like forks and spoons, or by touching and kissing the infected person) or when a person inhales droplets of infected matter in the air (like inhaling droplets of an infected persons sneeze or cough). The flu virus can likewise be transmitted when you touch surfaces that are infected like telephones, computer keyboards or mice, TV remotes, handles and doorknobs. When your hands become infected and you touch your mouth, eyes, or nose the virus enters your body and your whole body then may in all likelihood become infected.


Nelya de Brun, DAOM
Classical Oriental Medicine, LLC
3459 Woolbright Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33463
(561) 932-3905