JAN 28, 2017 08:25 AM PST

How the Flu Brings Aches and Pains

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Flu season is, once again, upon us. While the influenza vaccine significantly reduces the incidence of flu cases, some people will inevitably get sick this season. And among the symptoms that the flu virus brings, the most dreaded symptoms are the aches and pains that leave people bedbound.

As it turns out, your body aches when you get the flu not because of the virus itself, but because of your own body's immune response to the virus. When the body recognizes the influenza invader, it responds by producing antibodies and chemicals to fight the infection. These chemicals help the white blood cells travel throughout the body to attack the virus. Some of these immune response chemicals end up in muscles and joints where they trigger pain receptors, thereby causing the telltale aches and pain typically associated with being sick.

So next time you're sick and bemoaning the pain, just remember that it's your immune system doing its job. If that's not enough, try warm baths, along with some over-the-counter pain relievers to soothe the muscles. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 10, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 10, 2018
Heart Attack Or Panic Attack? Knowing When To Seek Help
Chest pain, shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom are all symptoms representative of both heart attacks and panic attacks. For this reason, i...
NOV 17, 2018
Videos
NOV 17, 2018
Using Genetic Research to Improve Animal Conservation and Care
A group of Peters's Angolan colobus monkeys were brought to US zoos from East Africa in the 80s, but little is known about them....
NOV 28, 2018
Videos
NOV 28, 2018
Nanorobots That can Move Through the Eye
Researchers want to create tiny drug delivery systems that can move through biological tissue....
DEC 01, 2018
Videos
DEC 01, 2018
Identifying Disease-causing Gene Mutations
Genetic diseases can be traced back to an error in a gene. This video explores how the process works....
DEC 03, 2018
Cancer
DEC 03, 2018
Using bubbly nano-particles for chemotherapy delivery
We have all heard about the harsh side effects of chemotherapy that could be so difficult leading to stopping treatment. The reason behind those side effects is that chemotherapy drugs do tar...
DEC 05, 2018
Cancer
DEC 05, 2018
Zika virus as a weapon against brain cancer
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of Brain Cancer with an average survival rate of less than two years with treatment. So what if there could be a cure for this type of cancer....
Loading Comments...