COLD & FLU

What are Influenza Type A Flu and Type B Flu?

When it comes to the flu, not all types are created equal. You’ve probably heard that there are a few different types of the flu. According to the CDC, there are three types of influenza viruses: influenza A, influenza B and influenza C. Influenza A and B are the two main types that routinely spread in humans and cause seasonal flu epidemics. Influenza C viruses cause only mild respiratory infections and are not thought to be responsible for epidemics.14,15

Influenza A vs B: Brief History & Transmission

nfluenza A viruses are the most harmful, as they can cause severe disease. Wild aquatic birds are often the hosts for a large variety of influenza A viruses. Sometimes these viruses are transmitted from bird to human and can cause devastating outbreaks. Some of the subtypes of influenza A that have caused the largest number of known human deaths are:14,15

  1. H1N1, which caused Spanish Flu in 1918 and Swine Flu in 20091
  2. H2N2, which caused Asian Flu in 19572
  3. H3N2, which caused Hong Kong Flu in 19683
  4. H5N1, which caused Bird Flu in 20044

Influenza B almost exclusively infects humans and is less common than influenza A. Flu type B also mutates about two to three times more slowly than influenza A. Because humans are the natural host of influenza B, pandemics generally do not occur with influenza B viruses.22 Although scientists can classify and monitor the different types of flu viruses, it is virtually impossible for them to develop effective vaccines that provide lifelong immunity. The reason: Flu viruses mutate (change their genetic structure) and replicate (produce new, identical copies of themselves) extremely quickly, making it difficult for scientists to keep up.22

Signs of Influenza A or Influenza B Symptoms

The good news is most people will recover from the flu on their own. However, if you have a severe case of the flu, you should see your healthcare provider. Not sure if you have the flu? A good indication of whether or not you have the flu is if a thermometer indicates you have a fever.

Influenza A and Influenza B Treatment

While over-the-counter medications cannot cure the flu, they can help ease your symptoms while you wait for it to run its course. If you’re suffering from a sore throat, headache, cough, fever, runny nose, or minor aches and pains, NyQuil Cold & Flu and DayQuil Cold & Flu are both good options since they contain a pain reliever/fever reducer and cough suppressant. If you’re suffering from more symptoms, try NyQuil SEVERE Cold & Flu, which also contains a decongestant, and DayQuil SEVERE Cold & Flu, which has an expectorant to help loosen congestion in your chest. Soon enough, you’ll be on the road to recovery.

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