Influenza is one of the infections of the upper respiratory tract (URT) caused by a viral attack on the human immune system. Influenza is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system, specifically the patient’s throat, lungs, and sinuses. A common misconception about influenza is that it is identical to the common cold or flu, but it is distinct from all other viruses and can be life-threatening. The common flu referred to as influenza is not gastric flu. In the majority of cases, influenza symptoms resolve on their own, but occasionally they do not. In some cases of influenza, the symptoms develop into complications that can be fatal to the patient. Women who are pregnant, those who reside in convalescent homes or hospitals, and those with a higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to contract influenza.
As the virus attacks the immune system, children of developing age are more susceptible to contracting influenza. Young children, particularly those younger than 5 years old, are more likely to develop influenza. In addition, infants younger than six months are more likely to contract this viral infection because their immune systems are still developing. People with compromised immune systems and Native Americans are also at a greater risk of contracting influenza. Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, and heart disease make older individuals, particularly those older than 65, more susceptible to developing influenza symptoms. Although the vaccine that patients receive annually is not 100 percent effective, it is still the greatest protection against influenza.