The effects of influenza, which is also commonly referred to as the flu, are very diverse. The influenza virus targets the respiratory system, but people feel the symptoms all over their bodies. It can cause a lot of different ailments, including fevers, upset stomach, coughing, and runny nose. It’s also very common for people to experience severe aches in their muscles while suffering with the flu. In some cases, the effects of influenza can become dangerous because of certain complications that develop, particularly pneumonia.
For some people, the effects of influenza may be no more severe than a mild cold, and they may never realize they are suffering with the flu. Others get much sicker than that, and they might get so sick that they basically become confined to a bed for more than a week. One of the most severe effects of influenza that often makes it worse than a cold is the severity of the fevers people develop. It’s not uncommon for flu fevers to be so severe that people may become somewhat delirious, while fevers from colds tend to be much lower.
Another thing that separates the flu from a cold is the way it starts. The effects of influenza tend to appear rather suddenly. People may be going about their daily business in perfect health and then suddenly become severely ill within an hour or two. The onset of a cold tends to be more gradual, and it can take a whole day for the symptoms to come into full focus.
One of the most dangerous effects of influenza is the potential for pneumonia. This sometimes actually happens after the main symptoms have lessened and the virus is no longer present. The flu often leaves behind severe respiratory congestion, and for some people, this quickly develops into a bad infection, leading to pneumonia.
Severe effects of influenza, such as pneumonia, tend to happen much more commonly in the elderly, and sometimes in very young children. There is potential for these problems to happen in younger people as well, but it’s less likely. For most people, the best way to deal with the flu is to simply let the body fight it off. This can sometimes take a couple of weeks, but most people are able to recover successfully without any medical treatment. Those in higher-risk age groups may need to take greater precautions to avoid catching the flu and rely more on doctors when treating it.