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Influenza | Amazing Facts

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25 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Influenza | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. The word influenza is the Italian word for “influence” referring to the cause of the disease. People believed that the planets, stars, and moon influenced the flu.
  2. The word “influenza” was used for the first time in English in 1703.
  3. Influenza Affects About 20% of Americans Every Year. In USA alone, it is estimated that about 36,000 people will die of the flu or flu-related complications every season.
  4. Globally influenza is accountable for up to 500,000 deaths a year.
  5. Bacterial pneumonia is the most common complication of the flu, and in spite of potent antibiotics, most flu-related deaths are due to it.
  6. The first well documented human pandemic occurred in 1889-90 and was called the Russian flu (H2N2) which killed approximately one million people.
  7. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 is the most famous because it resulted in deaths of about 100 million people. It killed more Americans than those killed in all the American wars.
  8. The Spanish flu killed more people in one year than smallpox or the Black Plague did in 50 years.
  9. The Spanish flu was sometimes called “the purple death” because the worst symptom, signally certain death, was cyanosis when the lungs were starved of oxygen and the patient would turn purple or blue.
  10. Historians have traced the likely beginning of the Spanish flu not to Spain, but to Haskell County, Kansas, where people lived close to their pigs and poultry. When three Haskell County boys were shipped off to Fort Riley, Kansas in late 1917, they carried the virus with them, which spread from U.S. military bases to cities across the country. The virus then spread throughout Europe, brought over with the U.S. troops of WWI, and it returned to the United States in a much deadlier form.
  11. The Asian flu pandemic (1957-1958) originated in China and is estimated to have killed up to 4 million people, while the Hong Kong flu in the 1960s killed about 1 million people.
  12. In normal temperatures, the virus remains infectious for about seven days. If the virus is frozen, they can be infectious for an indefinite period of time.
  13. Influenza Attacks Healthy People More During Pandemic Periods.
  14. Younger, healthy people are the most at risk during a pandemic because the immune systems in those who are healthy tend to overreact when the virus becomes present which can actually do more damage to the body increasing mortality rate.
  15. In 1933, British researchers Wilson Smith, Christopher Andrews, and Patrick P. Laidlaw were the first to identify the human flu virus.
  16. There are three different flu viruses — Influenza A, B, and C.
  17. Influenza A is the most severe of the three, causing outbreaks in birds and humans. Influenza B is exclusively found in humans, but mutates at a much slower rate. Influenza C infects humans, dogs, and pigs, but is less common than the other two. However, there are an unknown number of strains as the flu itself is constantly mutating.
  18. The H1N1 form of swine flu is one of the descendants of the complex strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic. It is called the “swine flu” because the overall structure of the virus is of the type that affects pigs, though other components besides swine are in the virus structure.
  19. The “H” and “N” in H1N1 stand for Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase, which are key molecular components of the virus.
  20. Flu viruses can live up to 48 hours on hard, nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel and up to 12 hours on cloth and tissues. They can remain infectious for about one week at human body temperature, over 30 days at freezing temperatures, and indefinitely at temperatures below freezing.
  21. Thomas Francis and Jonas Salk developed the first flu vaccine in 1944. The flu vaccine in its various forms has been used for over 60 years.
  22. It is estimated that over 90 million Americans get a flu shot each year.
  23. Reyes syndrome is a rare and potentially fatal disorder linked to taking aspirin during viral illnesses such as the flu. Symptoms include persistent vomiting, fever, and confusion. Liver and brain damage occur within a few days. It is advised not to give aspirin to children and young people for treating the symptoms of influenza-like symptoms.
  24. The source of flu vaccines are chickens and, the vaccine can be dangerous to people who are allergic to eggs.
  25. Nowadays flu can be diagnosed the flu with a simple nasal swab in the first 24 to 48 hours after infection. Antiviral agents given at this time can reduce the severity of disease. 

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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