It can start like an ordinary cold – stuffy nose, cough and sneezing. Then the body aches start, your fever starts rising, and you feel exhausted. You’ve probably got the flu. However, the thought lingers in your mind: Are these indications that you have caught the ordinary, run-of-the-mill influenza bug, or are they signs and symptoms of flu that is more serious?
Could you have caught a new version of the so-called Hong Kong flu that ravaged Southeast Asia in 1968 and 1969? flu symptoms 2011 Might you have the early signs of the Swine Flu, which spread from Mexico around the world in 2009? Could you have Spanish flu symptoms – symptoms that you have caught a disease that killed hundreds of millions of people during World War One?
Relax. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor. More than 999 out of 1,000 people who catch the flu get their health back. It is highly unlikely that your case is the beginning of one of those worldwide pandemics that proved so deadly in the past. Call your doctor, take a few aspirin and go back to bed. Do what your doctor says to do.
Most signs and symptoms of the flu today indicate little more than its victims are in for three to five days worth of feeling miserable. Enormous changes have been made in the practice of medicine, and in everyday habits like washing hands and silverware – practices that help keep the influenza virus under control.
Modern awareness of the influenza virus is an enormous change that helps keep signs and symptoms of the flu in check. Many people take annual flu shots – a preventative measure that helps against most known types of flu. Public health agencies such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are assigned the task of identifying and responding to outbreaks before they spread widely.
However, it never hurts to be alert to the facts of history. The flu virus has mutated many times through the years, and medical professionals admit that they cannot predict where a new version might show up. Millions of people get signs and symptoms of the flu annually.
Chances are slim that there will be a recurrence of a horrible pandemic symptoms of flu like the Spanish flu outbreak that killed between 50 million and 130 million people worldwide in 1918-1920, one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Spanish flu symptoms quickly became much worse than ordinary influenza symptoms, killing people within days after they caught the bug. That flu, which may have originated at Fort Riley, Kansas , and spread when infected soldiers were sent to World War I in Europe, happened at a time when world communications were nowhere near today’s level and the world’s citizens were somewhat dulled to death announcements by the war. It was particularly virulent on the front lines, and hit both sides in the conflict with equally vicious results. The Spanish flu, caused by the H1N1 flu strain, was so named because it was first publicized in noncombatant Spain where newspapers were free to print unpopular facts.
The Asian flu and Hong Kong flu outbreaks, caused by the H3N2 variation of the virus, hit worldwide from 1958 to 1972, killing an estimated three million people in two waves. It was a very serious pandemic, but its severity was limited compared to the Spanish flu for a number of reasons, including improved medical practices, the availability of information about the disease in medical journals, and the development of a vaccine that was released in 1968.
The third recent serious flu outbreak was the so-called “Swine Flu” pandemic of 2009, which involved a variation of the same H1N1 virus that caused the Spanish Flu outbreak 90 years earlier. First recognized in Mexico, the flu was blamed for at least 18,000 deaths worldwide.
If you’ve got flu symptoms, it’s highly unlikely that your influenza is the beginning of another pandemic. Nevertheless, the federal government says when the next big flu bug will hit is impossible to predict . So talk to your doctor. They should know.
While most cases of the flu just make victims sick for 3-5 days, some flu pandemics have spread
About the Author
Written by Jon Melton
Born in the Northeast and now residing in South Florida, I've traveled the country in search of truth, justice and the best hot dog. A regular contributor for the Miami Herald, I cover all the sports that SOFLA has to offer. Have questions, comments or cleverly constructed insults? Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org