Influenza is not one but many diseases. Well infected in days, our bodies are filled with an epidemic of billions of viruses each capable of causing our cells to make thousands of copies of the virus, killing the cell. The body causes itself to warm (fever) which stops the epidemic while the fever signals the body to create special immune cells to clear the body of these invaders. Your body is now working on this epidemic full time so this is a good reason to let it do its job and not to expose yourself to the public where you can get further infection. The picture shows the proliferate number of flu viruses just in the Hs, not the Ns. When they get infamous they get named like Spanish flu, bird flu, swine flu etc.
With infectious contagion being invisible and hard to test for, we are sometimes told that even a day before and a day after a fever we still have virus. Where this is true, the viral load is so small. It could take 10,000 of those type to shed the viral load of a 100F fevered person.
Not well known is that flu is not just deadly but in the 10 list of killers of Americans and the only communicable disease. It annually kills more people than any sexually transmitted disease such as AIDs. Influenza is communicable by casual contact meaning you will never know how you really got it. All you know is that you most likely got it from indoor air or you actually infected yourself by touching a mucus membrane after touching a surface.
Polio prior to 1958 (the miracle vaccine) killed 1000 Americans per year. In 2010 influenza killed 12,000 and caused 250,000 hospitalizations. Polio, Small Pox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus are nearly extinct and have not been ho where near epidemic in decades because of vaccines. But influenza is. Who or what is defending influenza from the same extinction? Well influenza shape shifts. And our bodies help it to. And the more we let it spread, the it shape shifts. Vaccines then are guesses at which influenza type we anticipate going on in opposite hemispheres and in subtropics where it circulates at lower rates per thousand than when it hits the US as an annual epidemic.
These nearly extinct diseases have 95% vaccination potencies. Even though influenza vaccinations are only 60-70% effective, less than half, usually a quarter of the population gets them. The odds are still worth it health-wise and they are very inexpensive. The vaccine is illusive because it’s tricky but it’s tricky because we allow it to spread.
Yes we cause it by our behavior and no we don’t have to. The virus trick is shape shifting. But for that it needs more victims. Our largest mistake is that we help spread it by our habits. One habit a Canadian study found is that when we think we are treating our fever with fever reducers we spread it more. The fever reduction is nominal and the relief is possibly not real. But we nonetheless feel we can go to work hence spreading it amongst our colleagues.
Because of the working sick, the virus is on surfaces and now in the air. The path from surface to air is simply ourselves. We infect ourselves. Not at the moment we push a bathroom door, elevator button, or hold a railing but in the next few minutes afterward when we touch a mucus membrane on our face. At that moment, if your immune system loses the fight you just brought to it the viral epidemic inside turns your immune system into overdrive as you fight the sickness with all the weaponry your immune system has. Fever is the most important communications means to causes special immune cells to procreate and kill the viral invader force.
Washing your hands is not for others. Its for you. Why? Because when it comes to surfaces, we infect ourselves fro, the sick person’s leavebehind. When the sick person leaves an invisible viral load somewhere and our fingers get a hold of it, we can inoculate ourselves by touching a mucus membrane, almost always our face. At that very moment if our immune system loses the early , you have full blown influenza and the war wages on. Fever announces the war, higher core temperatures cause your cells to stop replicating the virus and then certain DNA switches in special cells cause macrophages to be born to turn the bodily epidemic down. All because we unknowingly infected ourselves.
But virus is delicate. Most can’t live in air. They also need a host to replicate so all they are seeds. Inside our body 10 viruses unchecked can turn into a billion plus in a day or two. We then excrete them in our breath, sweat and tears. So if it’s so delicate, how or when does it spread best?
It spreads best in dry air which is a modern day scientific surprise to many. As humidity indoors gets further and further under 50% RH, the virus laden droplets that a sick person exhales instantly feels a higher vapor pressure. The more the moisture (52% RH), the lower the vapor pressure. The lower the differential pressure, the slower the droplet evaporates. As it evaporates, the salt in the droplet actually pickles the virus’ protein skin killing it. Conversely at lower and lower humidity (under 52%RH) the virus laden droplet feels larger vapor pressures, the water rapidly diffuses the salt crystalizes and the infectious virus is separated in tack from the brine. The waterless virus is then subject only to convective air currents and drafts (stronger than gravity) where it can be recirculated and inhaled or landed upon a surface you may touch and ultimately infect yourself.
Wello Watch tells you when indoor humidity is dry enough for publicly sick people to leave behind their infectious virus or bacteria. Wello Station simply keeps their enormous virus load out of the indoors.
In defense of influenza, let’s stop the spreading.