Gripe A

Influenza A summary

Influenza A (H1N1 flu) is a very troublesome type of flu that affects the whole world with its high risk of pandemic. In June 2009, the WHO raised the influenza A pandemic alert level to 6, the last level on the scale. The world has been and is being affected by this flu. In 2009, South America and the United States had a large number of cases of influenza A. In 2013, Brazil had and still has an important number of cases of influenza A.

According to an important study published in the journal Science, the flu virus A(H1N1) has a greater tendency to reach the lungs (which can cause pneumonia ) than the conventional flu , which is limited to the trachea. This helps explain why this flu is more deadly. Read: What to do when you suspect influenza A?

According to the WHO (in 2009), 4 out of 10 people killed by influenza A were young and healthy. The mortality of this flu in young people in good health is 100 times higher than that of conventional flu.

Also read our article on vaccination against influenza A.

The influenza A virus is transmitted easily from one person to another via the air via the microdroplets and particles excreted by infected people when they cough or sneeze. Unsurprisingly, hands therefore represent an important factor in the spread of the flu: in fact, they contribute to transmitting and spreading the virus through direct contact with all types of surfaces that permeate our daily lives.

Thorough hand washing is a simple, effective gesture that can limit the risk of transmission of the virus and the spread of infections in general.

Get your questions answered in our forum

Influenza A definition

Influenza A H1N1 (also known as swine flu or influenza virus Influenza A(H1N1)) is an acute infectious disease caused by a virus, the Influenza virus (from the family of orthomyxoviruses, which are composed of single-stranded RNA).

The influenza A epidemic is related to a never-before-seen form of the influenza A virus, H1N1. This virus is very dangerous for the lungs and has higher morbidity (diseases) and mortality (deaths) than type C.

Influenza A affects the respiratory tract (nose, larynx, pharynx, lung, middle ear). The flu virus can simultaneously attack the upper respiratory tract (throat, nose,…) and the lower respiratory tract (lung,…).

Influenza A transmission – Influenza A children

– The influenza A virus is transmitted from one person to another through airborne particles (microdroplets) emitted, for example, in sneezing or coughing. Or else, a simple handshake can also favor transmission. Influenza A is therefore a very contagious infectious disease.

– According to the September 2009 edition of the French magazine Science & Vie, children are twice as contagious as adults.

flu statistics

Deaths from influenza A (H1N1) in Brazil

In 2011, 27 people died from influenza A.

In 2012 there were 351 deaths from influenza A.

In 2013 (until May 12), there were 61 deaths from influenza A (H1N1), with 55 deaths in the State of São Paulo.

Deaths by influenza A (H1N1) in the world

There have been 16,455 deaths from influenza A worldwide since the beginning of the epidemic (source ATS, March 5, 2010). More than half were recorded in North and South America (source WHO, January 2010).

Adolescents and young adults continue to account for the majority of cases, but the highest hospitalization rate is among very young children (up to 2 years old). 1% to 10% of patients who manifest the disease require hospitalization. Of hospitalized patients, 10% to 25% require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), and 2% to 9% have a fatal outcome (WHO source, October 2009).

Causes influenza A

As we saw in “ definition “, influenza A is caused by a virus, Influenza A H1N1.

This virus is particularly dangerous as it can be transmitted from one person to another, which can lead to a worldwide pandemic.

The cold and the development of the virus

According to a study published in May 2009, cold and dry weather increases virus survival by 90% and transmission by 50%.

Influenza A risk groups

According to the WHO, people who are part of the risk groups are young people (including teenagers) who have contracted pneumonia or a chronic disease ( diabetes , tuberculosis , cardiovascular diseases). It is believed that the particularly strong immune system of these people can trigger signs of severe inflammation and can lead to serious pneumonia.

Pregnant women, children aged 6 months to 2 years, people of any age with chronic diseases (heart, respiratory, liver, kidney, blood, diabetes, immunosuppression or obesity), people over 60 years of age and people receiving treatment against cancer are also part of the risk group.

Therefore, it is unfortunately possible to die from influenza A without having underlying illnesses.

According to an article published in July 2009, in the São Paulo newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo”, young people aged 20 to 29 are the most affected by influenza A (336 out of 694 cases), and in second place are the youngest, from 10 to 29 years old (120 cases). Other people are less affected.

flu symptoms

Influenza A symptoms – Swine flu symptoms

The symptoms of influenza A H1N1 are the same as conventional flu:

Note: Symptoms do not always appear together and may not appear at all. In 93% of cases of influenza A there is fever, in 89% there is cough, in 53% there is muscle pain, etc.

– high fever (over 39°C). The fever appears abruptly and quickly, accompanied by chills, due to its rapid increase. Attention, in some cases there may be a low fever or even no fever at all (especially in elderly people). It is estimated that in 93% of cases of influenza A, there is fever.

– dry cough . Cough is present in about 90% of cases, so it is a very important symptom of influenza A.

– severe headaches

– a lot of fatigue

– joint pain, muscle pain, tiredness in the limbs (in the legs, for example)

– sore throat

– catarrh

– runny nose ( rhinitis )

– nausea

– eye irritation

– ear irritation

People with influenza A may also experience vomiting and diarrhea (source: , American health website).

Note: as we will see in “ Influenza A diagnosis “, the doctor must order laboratory tests to confirm influenza A, as this is not possible without this resource.

Source: WHO, Destination Santé, ATS, Jornal O Estado de São Paulo (Brazil)

Influenza A diagnosis

Influenza A diagnosis

Only a doctor can clarify whether the patient is indeed infected with influenza A.

For an exact diagnosis, the doctor will request a blood test (sometimes a test on the nasal mucosa) that will be sent for analysis in a laboratory, which through biochemical tests will be able to confirm whether or not it is influenza A (H1N1) .

Influenza A complications

Influenza A can lead to pneumonia , which is a very serious complication. Another complication is the acute respiratory distress syndrome, a consequence of pneumonia (viral, due to the influenza A virus). This is one of the causes of deaths from influenza A, the others occur due to a decompensation of underlying diseases and a bacterial superinfection. (Source: Tribune Médicale: September 11, 2009)

Complications such as otitis , sinusitis and bronchitis can also occur.

We emphasize that the people who make up the risk groups are young people in good health, according to the WHO, they represent 4 out of 10 deaths from influenza A.

When to see a doctor?

What to do when you suspect influenza A?

If you suspect you have influenza A, seek medical attention immediately, as the first dose of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) must be taken 48 hours after exposure to be most effective.

The following are considered suspicious cases:

– sudden fever above 38°C and cough with or without headache, muscle pain, joint pain or difficulty breathing. Read influenza A symptoms

– having presented symptoms up to 10 days after returning from a trip, where there were reports of cases of Influenza A.

– having had close contact (conversation, hugging, kissing,…), in the last 10 days, with a person with suspected influenza A.

(Information released by the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI) and the Brazilian Medical Association)

Influenza A treatment

Antivirals – Flu Remedies

There are two effective drugs to treat influenza A, which belong to the class of neuraminidase inhibitors. These are oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (Relenza®). Apparently both have the same effectiveness against this and can be acquired through a medical prescription.

Treatment based on a neuraminidase inhibitor (Tamiflu® or Relenza®) is most effective if administered within the first 48 hours after the first symptoms of influenza A are observed .

According to WHO guidance (August 2009), antiviral drugs should be prescribed only for patients in serious condition and for those who fit into a risk group. They should not be given to people who are in good health and have mild symptoms of the A/H1N1 virus.

flu vaccination

Influenza A vaccine – Influenza A vaccination

Vaccination against influenza A is strongly recommended worldwide, below you will find some useful information about it.

Time of initiation of immunization against influenza A vaccine

8 days after vaccination, the person will be immunized against influenza A.

Side effects after a vaccination

If the vaccination against influenza A (or another vaccination) has any side effects, it will be possible to alleviate them through the use of paracetamol, which does not interfere with the stimulation of the immune system.

What to do if the person has a runny nose or fever at the time of vaccination?

Vaccination against influenza A is possible if the person has a runny nose, but impossible if the person has a fever above 38 °C, in which case it will be necessary to postpone it.

Influenza A vaccine adjuvants

To improve the immune response, pharmaceutical laboratories have used aluminum or squalene, but this induces slightly stronger local and systematic reactions. However, this is not related to problems such as allergies, cardiovascular problems and death (as of December 13, 2009).

Interest of vaccination for society

People vaccinated against the flu shed less influenza virus in case of infection, this helps to prevent the spread of the disease.

Who should get vaccinated against influenza A?

Vaccination against influenza (A) should be done every year in May (in Brazil) for those who want to avoid the flu. This vaccination is particularly recommended for the following risk groups:

– people over 60

– people in contact with patients or health facility workers (nurses,…hospital assistants)

– people suffering from chronic diseases ( diabetes , etc.) and in particular from cardiovascular diseases. In fact, there is an increase of about 20% in cases of heart disease, such as myocardial infarction , during the flu season.

According to a study published by the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association (Canadian Medical Association Journal), in 2010, vaccination against the flu would allow a reduction of approximately 19% in the risk of occurrence of a first myocardial infarction and of approximately 30% when it is intended to protect its patients from cardiovascular risks.

Another study published in 2012, carried out by Brazilian researchers, involving 190,000 patients from public hospitals in the city of São Paulo (Brazil), reaches virtually the same conclusions as those published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Canada. The Brazilian study observed an increase of about 20% in cases of heart disease during the period from July to August (winter, in this region of Brazil). Get more information about the flu and stroke

– pregnant women (at any gestational age)

– women up to 45 days after giving birth

– Indian people

– prison population (prisoners)

– children from 6 months to 2 years

Observation in the United States, children under 2 years old must be vaccinated as indicated by the authorities; already in France (to our knowledge) there is no recommendation of this type for children of that age, only for people who have chronic diseases.

In Brazil, there are vaccination campaigns for the elderly and risk groups in several states, mainly in April and May.

Influenza A therapy tips

Attention, in case of suspicion of flu A H1N1 always seek a doctor and never self-medicate. The tips below apply after consulting a doctor and as a complement to a classic treatment.

– Wear warm clothes and rest, because in the case of influenza A, the body consumes a lot of energy to fight the aggressions (in this case, the H1N1 virus), but when we wear warm clothes, we conserve energy and it can be used by the body to protect itself. defend. Through rest we also save energy to fight the flu virus.

– Drink hot drinks (infusion,…), as this relieves nasal congestion, prevents dehydration and soothes an inflamed mucous membrane that makes up the nose and throat (some of the symptoms of influenza A).

– Take a steam shower. Hot water steam hydrates the nasal mucous membranes and improves nasal flow. If you are not breathing properly, take a shower, the hot water vapors given off have a good effect. Try taking, for example, a thyme-based bath or thyme essential oil .

– Use paper tissues (instead of tissue tissues) and throw them away after using them.

Flu prevention tips

Influenza Prevention Tips Influenza A Française |

– Vaccination remains the most effective means of preventing influenza A (read our full article on influenza A vaccination , with several tips).

– Use protective masks

– Regularly wash your hands, as it is a great means of preventing the flu (whether conventional or H1N1). You can also use alcohol-based solutions to disinfect your hands or surfaces.

– Avoid close contact with patients

– If you have flu symptoms, try to stay at home and use only disposable tissues.

– Take selenium , as this trace element has a favorable effect in preventing influenza A, strengthening the defenses

– Eat foods that help fight infections. Here are some suggestions and recommendations for foods to eat when you have the flu:

> kiwi, orange, lemon…. consume these foods in large quantities as they are rich in vitamin C.

> carrot: rich in betacarotene, it strengthens the defenses. Try, for example, carrot juice .

black tea and green tea : these teas contain catechins, which have an antibacterial effect.

Read also: 10 tips to strengthen your immunity and resistance

Leave your testimonial or ask your questions in our forum: forum flu

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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