Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses

Influenza and other respiratory viruses are the most common types of respiratory infections in humans, ranging from a mild cold to severe illness that requires hospitalisation or even death. They have the potential to cause various serious illnesses like sinusitis, ear infections, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, croup and influenza-like illness (ILI).

Types of Respiratory Viral Infection

Respiratory viral infections are a global public health threat, often occurring during wintertime due to direct contact with infected individuals’ respiratory secretions; sneezing and coughing serve as major transmission routes.


A fever is one of the first symptoms people experience when they become infected with influenza. It may range from 102degF (39degC) to 106degF (41degC), and may also include body aches and chills. Usually, however, this fever subsides within a few days or less.

Coughing and sneezing can be incredibly painful, particularly if you have a high temperature. They may also cause chest pain, shortness of breath or bloody mucus.

Rest, water and avoiding exertion are all beneficial for recovering from influenza and reducing the risk of complications. Antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir may also be helpful.

Influenza typically begins with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. It then progresses to body aches, fever and chills; some people even develop a dry cough.

Children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially vulnerable to influenza than other groups due to their compromised immune systems.

Most people recover from the flu within a week, but some may develop complications. One such complication is pneumonia – which is a leading cause of death in both adults and children alike – while other potential issues include inflammation of either heart or brain as well as muscle weakness.

Severe complications of influenza, while rare, can be life-threatening. They include pneumonia – a severe, bacterial-like respiratory infection – and sepsis (another potentially lethal infection caused by untreated influenza).

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Pneumonia is most often experienced by older individuals and those with chronic lung diseases like asthma or COPD. However, some young people with flu or other high-risk conditions can also become infected with pneumonia.

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Vaccines against influenza are widely available at pharmacies and in the workplace. They offer protection from several strains of influenza A virus and one or two subtypes of influenza B virus.

The International Society for Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses (isirv) exists to foster scientific communication, foster international collaboration in research and disease control, and enhance global cooperation to eradicate infectious diseases caused by respiratory viruses. They host a series of scientific meetings and provide support for an expansive network of experts.

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