Cold shivers. High temperatures. Aching muscles. Painful headaches. Yes, it can only mean one thing – influenza has come around again. Also more commonly known as the flu, influenza is a particularly nasty group of viruses that produce multiple symptoms, all of which affect different parts of your body. But where is it found in your body, and how does it affect so many different areas?
The respiratory system
You probably already know that influenza is typically passed on through sneezing and coughing. That’s because the influenza viruses are found in bodily fluids, such as saliva and mucous – which is why it’s important to follow the golden rule of catch it, bin it, kill it to prevent spreading the virus.
Unfortunately, some of the viruses can sometimes find their way through. When this happens, they attack the epithelial cells of their next host. Where are your epithelial cells located? You guessed it – your nose and throat. Because your nose and throat are linked up to your respiratory system, a runny nose and chesty cough are typically the first symptoms to appear when you are infected with influenza.
Inside your respiratory system, the influenza virus attaches itself to epithelial cells and binds with it. When this happens, the cell becomes a replication of the virus, allowing it to further spread throughout your respiratory system.
But why does my head still hurt?
Good question! While influenza is typically found and fought within your respiratory system, sometimes your cells need to fight a little harder to fend off the virus, which means branching out of the respiratory system and into your bloodstream as well.
When your cells do this, it causes your body to react in a variety of different ways. One way is it causes your unaffected cells to produce a substance known as Interleukin-1, which is important as it helps develop specific cells, known as T cells, to help fight the virus.
The only downside? Doing so can affect the hypothalamus in your brain. This part of your brain is responsible for regulating your temperature. When it’s thrown out of its comfort zone, your temperature can fluctuate rapidly, as well as giving you one nasty headache.
What about my muscle aches?
Another common symptom of influenza is muscle aches and general weakness in the body. Similar to how headaches occur, your body releases chemicals into your bloodstream to help fight off the virus. While these are a good thing, they can have the side effect of causing aches and pains in various parts of the body. While uncomfortable, it is a positive sign that your body is fighting off the virus. In your bodies battle against influenza, things really do get worse before they get better.
However, aches and pains can be made worse if you are suffering from dehydration. To ensure any muscles don’t become too painful, it is important to drink plenty of water during your recovery to reduce the impact of any aches and pains.
At FluCamp, our mission is to understand cold/flu viruses and work out how we can find a cure. Want to help us on our mission to eradicate these viruses for good, and be compensated for your time as well? Then why not take part in one of our trials and become an #EverydayHero today. Check out some of our video case studies, or apply to join FluCamp today.