The causes of the flu are, generally speaking, viruses. The flu virus causes seasonal epidemics of influenza every winter in the United States. There are, essentially, three different categories of flu viruses that can cause you to get the flu.
The first type of influenza, or flu virus, is the influenza A virus. There are two subtypes of the influenza A virus. One is known as the H subtype and the other is known as the N subtype. These subtypes can be even further broken down into specific strains.
Fortunately, there are essentially only two subtypes of the influenza A type of flu virus that are found in human beings. Other subtypes affect various animals.
Influenza B viruses are the other type of flu viruses. Influenza B viruses have different strains just like influenza A viruses. Not all influenza B viruses affect human beings either.
The final type of influenza viruses is the influenza C virus. Influenza C virus doesn’t cause the same type of flu epidemic that the influenza A and B virus will cause. Instead, the influenza C virus will instead cause a mild respiratory illness.
All of the different strains of flu virus can be confusing to keep straight. Just remember, regardless of which particular influenza virus you have that causes you to get the flu, the fact is that most flu viruses have similar symptoms and they have a similar severity. You’re likely to experience the same kinds of things such as body aches, headaches, an upset stomach, or fever with influenza A virus as you are with an influenza B virus.
With a number of different causes for the flu, it’s important to understand what exactly the flu vaccine does for a person. The flu vaccine is able to protect against certain strains of influenza A and influenza B viruses. They don’t protect against all strains of course, but they do protect against some of the most common influenza viruses that have been identified and found to cause the flu.
The best way to avoid getting the flu is to avoid the causes of the flu. To do so, it is important that during the flu season you practice good hygiene habits. Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent catching the flu. Sanitizing your hands before you eat at a restaurant, for example, can help reduce the chance that you will get the flu virus. Also, keeping your home clean and sanitized can help the flu virus from spreading from one family member to the others.