Influenza, more known to people by its shorter name, “flu”, is an infection caused by a virus which attacks our respiratory system. Being that kind of an infection, it is logical that influenza is transferred by air, inhaling, that is.
Some of the important facts considering flu are that it is usually at its peak in the winter period when the number of infected people is at such a high level that this situation is called an epidemic. If, however, infections spread on a world wide level, this is called pandemic.
The incubation period of the virus lasts up to four days while the infection can hold a person up to seven days. An interesting thing about this virus is that people tend to add other bacterial or viral infections to it and this way spread it on organs which it never actually attacks. For example, influenza is thought to sometimes cause stomachache even though this is caused by another, independent bacteria and has nothing to do with flu. The influenza virus is concentrated mainly and solely on the respiratory system, meaning that every other infection is out of its “jurisdiction”, so to say. A running nose, high fever, fatigue and sneezing are the best signs of this infection.
Though alone, influenza may not be so dangerous, it is known to trigger or provoke many others, in some situations life-threatening, illnesses.
Most infamously, it is known to cause pneumonia. Actually, flu only develops a good terrain for other bacterial infections since it lowers people's immunity making it easier for them to strike. Most often, pneumonia can be deadly for older people. Flu, as many other viral and bacterial infections, tends to be dangerous by triggering other infections and these are often life-threatening for groups such as older people and small children. Having their immunity down, being low at the first place, flu makes it easy for pneumonia to infect the lungs, causing those who get infected to be hospitalized and potentially in danger of dying.
Influenza is also known to be dangerous for children up to three years old. When they suffer from influenza, it may be able to cause many nervous infections such as meningitis, being able to cause death if not treated properly.
Flu vaccines are available world-wide and one should get protected on time, not because of the flu and the influenza virus itself, but mainly from the danger of getting his or her immunity decreased and be in danger of getting infected by a more serious virus.