The flu is a viral infection of the respiratory system that can cause symptoms such as headache, muscle and body ache, fatigue, fever, coughing and congestion. These symptoms may come on quickly and last for several days or up to a week. The flu comes in three varieties, or types.
Types of Flu
The flu is classified according to the type of virus that caused the condition. The three main types of flu are type A, type B and type C. The symptoms for all flu types are generally the same, according to About.com. However, Type C flu has less severe manifestations compared to the other two types. The majority of flu cases each year are either type A or B.
Unlike type A flu, type B flu does not cause pandemics, but it can still be detrimental enough to trigger seasonal outbreaks. Moreover, type B flu occurs only in human hosts. Health professionals recommend getting a flu vaccine each year.
Type B Flu Symptoms
Type B flu can cause some symptoms that are similar those experienced during a cold, including cough, congestion, sore throat, fatigue and congested sinuses. However, while cold symptoms usually appear over the course of several days, flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, within a day or a few hours.
Symptoms that are unique to the flu include fever, headaches, extreme fatigue, and body aches. These symptoms are very rare in those who have a cold, and are good indicators that the infected individual is suffering from the flu.
Type B flu symptoms are similar to type A flu symptoms. Neither type of the flu is considered to be more severe than the other type. The difference between the two types of flu lies in the capacity of the different virus strains to cause epidemics.
Those suffering from the flu should stay home from work, school and social events to avoid infecting others. While there is no cure for the flu, fever reducers such as Tylenol may help an infected individual feel more comfortable. It is also important for those suffering from the flu to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Those who have a high risk of complications stemming from the flu, such as the elderly, pregnant women and children, should consult with a doctor soon after the onset of symptoms. Additionally, individuals who believe they may have contracted a secondary infection such as pneumonia should contact a doctor as soon as possible.