What is influenza type B?
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by flu viruses. There are three main types of influenza: A, B, and C. Types A and B are similar, but influenza B virus Recombinant can only spread from human to human. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that both type A and B can be equally severe, challenging the previous misconception that type B tends to be a milder disease.
A common indicator of the influenza virus is a fever, often over 100ºF (37.8ºC). It is highly contagious and in more severe cases can cause life-threatening complications. Learn about other symptoms that could indicate an influenza type B infection.
Types of flu
There are three main types of flu:
- Type A. The most common form of influenza, type A, can be transmitted from animals to humans and is known to cause pandemics.
- Type B. Similar to type A, influenza B is also highly contagious and can have dangerous effects on your health in more severe cases. However, this form can only spread from human to human. Influenza type B can cause seasonal outbreaks and can be transmitted throughout the year.
- Type C. This type is the mildest version of the flu. If you are infected with influenza type C, your symptoms will not be as harmful.
Influenza B symptoms
Detecting an influenza infection early can prevent the virus from getting worse and help you find the best course of treatment. Common symptoms of type B influenza include:
- shaking chills
- throat pain
- runny nose and sneezing
- muscle aches and body aches
Similar to a common cold, influenza B can cause respiratory symptoms. Initial symptoms may include:
- throat pain
- runny nose
However, the respiratory symptoms of influenza can be more severe and can lead to other health complications. If you have asthma, a respiratory infection can make your symptoms worse and even trigger an attack.
If left untreated, or in more severe cases, influenza B can cause:
- respiratory insufficiency
- renal insufficiency
- myocarditis or inflammation of the heart
A common sign of the flu is a fever that can reach 41.1ºC (106ºF). If your fever does not subside within a few days, seek immediate medical attention.
Additionally, you may also experience symptoms including:
- shaking chills
- body pain
- abdominal pain
- soft spot
In rare cases, the flu can cause diarrhoea or stomach pains. These symptoms are more common in children. It can be confused with a stomach bug since children infected with influenza type B may experience:
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
Influenza type B treatment
If you suspect you have the flu, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Also, allow yourself enough sleep so your body can rest and recharge. Sometimes the symptoms of influenza B get better on their own. However, those who are at high risk for complications from the flu should seek medical treatment immediately.
High-risk groups include:
- children under 5 years of age, especially those under 2 years of age
- adults 65 and older
- women who are pregnant or up to two weeks after giving birth
- Native Americans (American Indians and Alaska Natives)
- people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic conditions
If your young child has the flu, seek medical treatment before resorting to home treatment. Some medications could increase the risk of complications. If your child has a fever, keep your child home for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides without the help of medication.
In some cases of the flu, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers and antiviral medications to shorten the time of illness and prevent further complications. Doctors also recommend getting the yearly flu shot to protect against common strains of the virus. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide you with options in your area if you need help finding a primary care doctor or paediatrician.
flu A versus flu B
Influenza types A and B are the most common forms of this infection, usually causing seasonal outbreaks. Influenza type C usually only causes mild respiratory infections. Influenza type B can be just as serious as influenza type A, but it is less common during the flu season compared to type A.
Humans are the natural host for type B infection. Type B viruses mutate much more slowly than type A infections and are classified by strains but not subtypes. B virus strains take longer to change their genetic makeup than influenza A. This dramatically reduces the risk of a widespread pandemic due to influenza type B.
Influenza type A can be dangerous and is known to cause outbreaks and increase the risk of getting sick. Unlike a type B infection, type A viruses are classified by subtypes and strains. Influenza A mutates faster than influenza B, but both viruses are always changing, creating new strains from one flu season to the next.
Past flu shots will not prevent infection from a new strain. Wild birds are the natural hosts for a type A virus, also called bird flu and bird flu. This infection can also spread to other animals and humans. This, combined with the ability of type influenza to mutate faster than type B, can cause pandemics.