Special Populations

The Flu

The Flu

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. In worse case scenarios, it can cause severe illness and death. There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Each year, the flu is linked to an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations in the U.S..

Type A

Type A flu viruses are the most common type of flu and cause the largest flu epidemics. Influenza A2 virus (and other variants of influenza) is spread by people who are already infected. This virus is spread by touching or breathing in the virus.

Type B

Type B flu viruses may cause a less severe reaction than Type A. These viruses are not classified by subtype and do not cause epidemics.

Type C

Type C is the mildest of the three and does not generally make people ill. Type C flu viruses also do not cause epidemics and are not classified according to subtype.

Typically, the flu is transmitted from infected individuals through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. Touching an infected substance, transmitted by saliva, nasal secretions, feces or blood, can also be a way to contract the flu. Once contracted, the flu can remain infectious for a week. Household disinfectants and detergents can kill many flu strains.

The flu can negatively affect one’s fitness regimen. The following symptoms are serious reasons as to why no one, with the flu, should exercise:

* Body aches, especially joints and throat

* Extreme coldness and fever

* Fatigue

* Headache

* Coughing and sneezing

* Irritated, watering eyes

* Nasal congestion

* Abdominal pain

* Inability to fully concentrate on form and technique

* Overall muscle soreness or tenderness