The H1N1 flu was a surprise right from the start: a soon-to-be pandemic flu virus that was first identified in kids in the United States. But that's not the only unusual fact about H1N1 flu. Here are eight more surprising developments:
1 Name that flu virus
In April 2009, CDC researchers met to name the newly identified flu virus. The virus came to humans via swine, so the first idea was to call it swine influenza virus. But SIV already stands for simian immunodeficiency virus. Some CDC wags...
What's the difference? A typical cold causes a runny nose (the discharge is usually clear, but it could be yellow or green in the mornings), body aches, coughing, and sometimes a mild fever (usually for the first three to four days). By day four or five, you should be well on your way to recovery.
Flu, on the other hand, can produce all those symptoms, plus headaches, fatigue, and a higher fever -- and it lasts longer.
Colds and flu are both caused by viruses, not bacteria, so it's really just time that will make them go away. That said, both ailments can morph into more serious conditions, including sinus infection, bronchitis, pneumonia, and strep throat.
How to tell? Go to the clinic if you have sinus pressure or pain, a persistent or worsening sore throat, a deep cough that's making you hack up yellow or green phlegm (all day, not just mornings), fast or difficult breathing, ear pain, or a high fever. If you think you have the flu -- and it's diagnosed quickly enough -- a health care provider can give you an antiviral drug to help ease symptoms faster.
Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD the Magazine."