What is flu?
Flu or influenza is a contagious (spreads from person to person) viral illness that affects the respiratory tract (the nose, throat and lungs). Flu infections are more common during the fall and winter. Although flu cases peak between December and February, flu activity may be seen as late as May. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting a flu vaccine shot during 2020-2021 is more important than ever because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that the seasonal flu vaccine does not protect you against the COVID-19 pandemic. The two types of flu are distinct and respond to separate vaccines.
During flu season, you must have heard the terms “type A” and “type B” flu infections. These depict two of the different types of influenza viruses. Flu viruses are of four main types: A, B, C and D. Human influenza type A and B viruses are mainly responsible for the “flu season,” or seasonal influenza epidemics almost every winter in the United States.
- Type A influenza: This is the cause of most flu cases. It is the only influenza virus causing flu pandemics (a large number of flu cases affecting most of the world). It is further divided into various subtypes based on the two surface proteins (hemagglutinin or H and neuraminidase or N) such as H1N1 (swine flu) and H3N2.
- Type B influenza: This generally causes seasonal flu infections and only affects humans. It does not change as rapidly in its genetic and antigenic characteristics as type A influenza.
- Type C influenza: This causes mild illness and is not involved in causing flu epidemics.
- Type D influenza: This mainly infects cattle and is not known to cause illness in humans.
Which flu is worse, A or B?
Type A influenza is generally considered worse than type B influenza. This is because the symptoms are often more severe in type A influenza than in type B influenza. Type A influenza is more common than type B influenza. Researchers suggest that most adults have considerable immunity against type B influenza. Thus, type B influenza is less common in adults than type A influenza and when it occurs, it is less severe as well. Children, however, may develop severe disease following type B influenza. It is noteworthy that just like type A influenza, type B influenza can cause serious and life-threatening disease in some people. Moreover, both infections can pass from person to person.
What are the signs and symptoms of type B influenza?
The signs and symptoms of type A and B influenza are similar. The symptoms of type A influenza are generally more severe than those of type B influenza. The signs and symptoms of influenza include
- Fever (generally sudden in onset) or feeling feverish in the absence of a high body temperature
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pains
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Vomiting (more common in children than in adults)
- Diarrhea (more common in children than in adults)
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Which Flu Is Worse A or B Related Articles
Children's Cold, Fever & FluColds and fevers are some of the most common ailments in children. Learn common cold symptoms, treatment options, over the counter (OTC) medicines for cold and fever, home remedies, how to relieve a sore throat, how to bring down a high temperature, whether chicken soup works, and more.
Cold & Flu QuizAches? Pain? Fever? This Cold & Flu Quiz tests your knowledge on the difference between coming down with the common cold and sickness from influenza virus.
Cough Remedies and CausesRemedies for coughing to relieve symptoms, thin mucus, and clear phlegm include cough syrup and honey in hot water. Use suppressants to treat a dry cough. See a doctor when home remedies are not enough. Bronchitis or another condition may be to blame.
Cold vs. FluThough the common cold and flu share many signs and symptoms, they are caused by different viruses. Signs and symptoms include sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, and cough. Treatment options for the cold and flu are similar and focus on reducing symptoms. Doctors may prescribe antivirals/neuraminidase inhibitors for the flu.
Cold, Flu, Allergy TreatmentsBefore treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
Flu Vaccine (Flu Shot)Every year in the United States, on average, 5%-20% of the population gets the flu, more than 500,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 34,000 people die from flu. The flu is highly infectious and is a serious viral respiratory infection. Flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, meaning that it contains killed influenza virus. Anyone who wishes to reduce their risk of getting the flu can be vaccinated, however the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who are at risk for serious complications from the flu be vaccinated each year.
Foods for the FluThe best foods to eat when you have the flu soothe symptoms and help you feel better faster. Good foods to eat with the flu include popsicles, turkey, vegetable juice, chicken soup, garlic, ginger, hot tea, bananas, toast, meal replacement drinks, oranges, pumpkin seeds, and carrots.
GERD (Acid Reflux) in Infants and ChildrenGERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is the upward movement of stomach content, including acid, into the esophagus and sometimes into or out of the mouth. Common symptoms of GERD in children include colic, feeding problems, poor growth, frequent vomiting or coughing, heartburn, regurgitation, recurrent wheezing, pneumonia, choking, or gagging. Treatment may involve elevating the child's bed, keeping the child upright after eating, limiting foods that seem to make the reflux worse, encouraging your child to exercise, and serving several small meals a day.
How Long Is a Cold or Flu Contagious?Viruses cause the common cold and the flu. Early symptoms and signs for a cold and the flu are similar, however, flu symptoms are typically more severe than cold symptoms. Cold and flu viruses are transmitted typically via coughing or sneezing.
Flu (Influenza)Influenza (flu) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. The flu may be prevented with an annual influenza vaccination.
Influenza Virus PictureThe flu is caused by viruses that infect the respiratory tract which are divided into three types, designated A, B, and C. See a picture of Influenza Virus and learn more about the health topic.
Is Swine Flu (H1N1) Contagious?Swine flu (H1N1) is a contagious virus that spreads when an infected individual expels virus-containing droplets into the air during coughing or sneezing. Symptoms include sore throat, runny nose, fever, cough, chills, headache, fatigue, and possible vomiting and/or diarrhea. An H1N1 infection typically lasts for about a week.
Natural Cold & Flu RemediesWhat natural remedies work for the flu and common cold? Many claim cold symptoms and flu symptoms can be relieved with Echinacea, zinc, neti pots, garlic, vitamin C, saltwater gargles, nasal strips, or bed rest. Find out what cold and flu treatments work the natural way, and what doesn't.
Pregnancy Flu Shot Side Effects and SafetyThe flu shot is safe for pregnant women and protects both mother and unborn baby from illness. Pregnant women should not, however, receive the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
Swine FluNovel H1N1 influenza A virus infection (swine flu) is an infection that generally is transferred from an infected pig to a human, however there have been reported cases where infection has occured with no contact with infected pigs. Symptoms of swine flu are "flu-like" and include fever, cough, and sore throat. Treatment is generally with the antibiotics oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).
Treating the Flu in People with Health RisksCertain portions of the population are at an increased risk of suffering serious complications from the flu. Some of these indviduals at risk include: those with asthma, COPD, heart disease, liver or kidney disease, HIV, AIDs, elderly, women who are pregnant, and children under the age of two. Contact your physician if you have the flu immediately so that you receive the proper care to prevent serious complications.