Flu or influenza is a respiratory disease that is caused by the influenza virus. The virus is transmitted through the air and enters your system via your mouth and nose. Approximately 5 to 20% of the population in United States are affected by the flu annually and can be fatal for the elderly, individuals with chronic illnesses, and newborns. It affects the global population yearly causing three to five million cases with 250,000 to 500,000 deaths. In both the north and south, flu usually occurs during the winter and in regions around the equator, it can happen anytime. The affected individual can be contagious before and after showing symptoms.
To reduce contagion and spread, frequent hand washing, and masks are recommended. The World Health Organization also recommends annual vaccinations (usually effective against three to four strains of influenza) that are available for individuals at risk.
Flu Symptom #1: Fever and Chills
Just like any other infection, a fever will occur. This is the increase in the set-point of the body’s temperature leading to more muscle contractions to produce more heat. Theoretically, a fever is the body’s natural way of fighting the infection as the higher temperature helps speed up immunological reactions and hinders pathogen activity.
Chills may also occur during a fever. It is described as a feeling of coldness when the set-point in temperature increases making the affected person feel cold until the new temperature is reached through muscle contractions, shivering, extra clothing, etcetera.