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Why The Flu Causes Aches & Pains

September 17, 2019


Ugh, my muscles… why do they feel so…
achey. *cough* If you say more research is needed
I’m going to kick you. Howdy sickos, I’m Trace, thanks for watching! IT’S FLU SEASON EVERYBODY! Congratulations. If you didn’t get your flu shot this year
(or even if you did), here’s a warning: YOU COULD GET SICK. No one exactly knows why influenza viruses
hit in the colder months. They may survive and circulate better in cold,
dry air;l our immune systems may be weaker thanks to a lack of sunlight in the winter
or; perhaps, it’s simply because thanks to the cold we spend more time in close quarters,
and thus, spread the virus more easily. Once you’ve got the flu, however, chances
are you’ll get some of the symptoms: fever, headaches, sore throat, runny nose, muscle
aches and so on! The thing is, I get fevers and headaches (your
hypothalamus raises your body temperature to make viruses less comfortable, and the
heat causes dilation of vessels in your brain adding pressure). I also get runny noses and sore throats (your
nose is pushing mucus like crazy to wash pathogens away from the body, and the back of the throat
is popular for infectious colonies, and immune cells rush to the area, inflaming it and causing
pain). Fun fact: 90 percent of sore throats are caused
by viruses, not bacteria; which means only 10 percent of the time will antibiotics help
you; that said, those bacterial sore throats are serious! Basically, most of your symptoms aren’t
the flu, but the immune response — and muscle and joint pain is the same. If you’re thinking, damn, my immune system
is causing all this terribleness, you’re not alone. We’re all right there with you. The immune system is the last line of defense
so it doesn’t really do half-measures. It just POW! GETS AT IT. Anyway, you’ve probably guessed by now,
but muscle aches are thanks to the immune system too, but in a much cooler way. Muscle aches are called myalgia, and in studies,
as many as 94-percent of people with the flu get them. The immune system’s army contains a variety
of cells, but when it comes to these myalgic issues we really only care about a few…. Let’s say the immune system corners some
virus in your thigh muscle. The antibody narcs show up, and bind with
the virus, tagging it for attack and keeping it from infecting other cells. Once the virus is tagged, histamine shows
up — it’s is part of our allergic reaction system. The histamine dilates the vessels in the area,
and gets them ready for the big guns… the macrophages (a.k.a the famous white blood
cells)! These macrophages get in there and start eating
and attacking the tagged pathogens, and try to eat any infected cells. The thing is, thanks to studies done on patients
with arthritis, we know macrophages tend to leave behind chemicals which aren’t super
comfortable. Cytokines are a family of proteins secreted
by immune system cells. During influenza attacks, one, called interleukin-6
(IL-6) is all over. IL-6 is associated with inflammation and causes
soreness. So, when the white blood cells show up, they
ravage the area, and leave the IL-6 in their wake, which your body has to clean up. There’s not much you can do about muscle
and joint aches, except give them a rest. Some people massage their achy joints and
muscles, some use warm blankets… fluids always help. But if you’re really concerned ask your
doctor… we’re not specialists. Here’s something to contemplate while you’re
laying in your bed hating your own immune system for making you feel so bad. One: Evolution may have created the pain,
inflammation and whatnot to keep you from spreading the sickness to others, and to force
you to rest so your body can fight the infection. Cool, right? And Two: influenza has been part of the human
experience since before history was history. In fact, it was first described by the father
of western medicine, Hippocrates, in 412 BCE! If anything? You’re just participating in the grand tapestry
of human suffering. Congratulations no go make a hot tea. After all that, I hope you got your flu shot. You should watch this video to figure why
you should have done it. But if you didn’t, tell us about it in the
comments. Why didn’t you get that shot? Please subscribe for more DNews and thanks
for watching. I forgot to get my flu shot…

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