Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral illness that affects millions of people each year. There are four types of influenza viruses, but the two that most commonly cause disease in humans are influenza A and influenza B. Both cause the same flu symptoms, including a runny nose, cough, fever, and body aches.
This article will outline the symptoms of influenza B and how it differs from other influenza strains. It will also answer frequently asked questions, including what causes the flu and how long flu symptoms last.
Symptoms of Influenza B
Symptoms of influenza B are generally considered milder than those caused by influenza A. However, influenza B can be just as dangerous as influenza A, especially in high-risk groups including those over 65.
Influenza A and Influenza B cause the same types of symptoms, so it’s impossible to tell which type you have from the symptoms alone. Influenza B symptoms usually appear quickly and last about a week. These are the most common flu symptoms:
Cough and chest pain are common symptoms of the flu. You may experience a stuffy nose, sneezing, and sore throat, but these symptoms are less common than coughing. Seek medical attention if you experience severe chest pain or difficulty breathing.
Most people who get the flu have a fever that quickly lasts for three to four days. Headaches and body aches are also common and can be severe. You may also have chills and be very tired.
Although many people associate the flu with stomach symptoms like nausea and vomiting, these symptoms are rare. Children with the flu are more likely to have stomach symptoms than adults with the flu.
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How is Influenza B Treated?
In most cases, flu treatment consists of home remedies (including rest, staying hydrated, and sticking to bland, comfort foods like chicken soup) and letting the virus fend off on its own.
However, if the flu is diagnosed within the first 48 hours of symptoms, the flu can be treated with prescription antiviral drugs. This is especially important for high-risk groups, including those over the age of 65, those who are pregnant, or those with other medical conditions.
Because the symptoms of influenza B can be as severe as influenza A, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people over age 65 and other high-risk groups use antiviral drugs to treat influenza A and influenza B infections. If you experience flu symptoms, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible to start treatment.
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Can Influenza B be Prevented?
The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine protects against the most common flu strains. During the 2021-2022 flu season, the vaccine protects against two influenza A and two influenza B strains.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself from the flu by practicing good hygiene, including washing your hands frequently. Influenza cases have been declining since the start of the pandemic, suggesting that COVID precautions such as social distancing and wearing masks may also help prevent the flu.
Quick Flu Vaccine Facts Everyone Should Know
There are two common types of influenza that affect humans. Influenza A and Influenza B. Infections are caused by different types of flu viruses. However, they share the same symptoms and treatments. As previously thought, influenza B is not necessarily milder than influenza A.
Treatment for the flu is the same no matter which strain of flu virus you have. Therefore, it does not matter whether you have symptoms of influenza B or influenza A. Instead of worrying, take care of yourself by resting and hydrating until you start to feel better.
If you are in a high-risk group and are experiencing flu symptoms, consider talking to your healthcare provider, who can prescribe antiviral medications. These may help speed up your recovery and reduce your risk of health complications from the flu.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Influenza A or B More Serious?
Influenza A is generally said to be more serious than influenza B. However, CDC research shows that both strains of the flu are equally dangerous.
How long does it take to get rid of influenza B?
The flu usually lasts about a week. The fever usually lasts three to four days. After that, you will slowly start to feel better.
Is Influenza B contagious?
Yes, influenza B is contagious and spreads easily from person to person. To avoid infection, practice good hygiene, including washing your hands frequently.