A peek inside the flu fight

It’s that time of year again. Temperatures drop, we overdose on food and sometimes a virus gives us an excuse to bail on holiday parties.

Say hello to influenza season!

If you end up quarantined to your bedroom with achy limbs, you might want to know the truth about your flu infection. After all, pondering influenza is better than spiraling into an existential crisis. Fevers have a strange way of doing that to us, don’t they?  

Once you know how the flu operates on a cellular level, you’ll likely acquire a new appreciation for your immune system. Plus, you’ll feel extra motivated to take preventive measures against the shapeshifting virus. (Influenza reinvents itself into a new strain every year).

How the flu attacks your body 

You’re most likely to get the flu when a sick person coughs in your vicinity. First, they spray the air with viral particles; then, you inhale the virus or grant it entry by touching your face with infected hands. From there, viral flu enzymes invade and genetically modify the cells of your nasal lining. By altering your healthy cells’ DNA, the flu virus can turn them into an influenza factory, allowing the virus to proliferate. No wonder some people used to confuse viruses with demonic possessions. The same general principle applies. 

Even more disturbing: A virus often exits its host by busting through the wall, thereby killing the cell itself. This is part of the reason you get a runny nose. The cellular destruction of your sinuses allows viral fluid to run into your nasal cavity, drip down your pharynx and leave you with a sore throat. 

How your body fights back

If you have a functioning immune system, your body isn’t just going to sit there and take a flu invasion. You’ll know the battle has truly begun once you get a fever. 

Have you seen the “Stranger Things” scene where Joyce increases Will’s temperature to exorcise his alien parasite? Your body uses a similar tactic to beat influenza. The flu virus gets sluggish in hot environments, while certain immune cells perform better. So although fevers feel miserable, they can help stall influenza long enough for your body to eradicate it.

That said, don’t feel ashamed if you’re incapable of doing anything productive next time you get sick. There’s a literal battle going on inside of you. The more energy you allow your body to devote to fighting influenza, the faster you’ll recover. 

Now that you know how the flu virus resembles demons and aliens, you might want to make sure it never happens to you again. We can help with that. For more tips on preventing and treating the flu, read this.