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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Influenza

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Influenza [posted 8/13/98]
Question: If the flu is a bacterial infection, why are antibiotics not prescribed by my physician?

Answer: Influenza is a virus. There is an antibiotic that works on Influenza A, that is Ranitidine. Hemophilis Influenza is a bacteria responsible for pneumonia and respiratory/ear infections. This is a bacteria not to be confused with Influenza Virus.

Question: Why is there a flu season? Why does the season have a beginning and ending? Does it have anything to do with the weather?

Answer: Influenza virus is the cause of the "flu". Other Similar viruses can produce similar symptoms; but, are not the cause of "flu". Influenza tends to be very infectious and spread rapidly. Immunity once the disease is contracted lasts about 1-2 years. Consequently, the disease tends to enter a community and spread rapidly among those without immunity. This produces a wave type effect and once the affected individuals are over the disease the season "passes". Weather has little to do with influenza-except it does tend to be seasonal and seen in northern climes between December to February.
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