Is it the Flu or is it Influenza?

By on March 10, 2009
is it the flu or influenza?

I was talking to my mother the other day and she told me that she had already had the “flu” this year. Upon further questioning, it turned out that she had a gastrointestinal illness for a day or two. A couple days later when I was working in the hospital Emergency Department, the paramedics called to say that they were bringing in a person who had “flu-like symptoms”. It also turned out that she had a gastrointestinal illness. So obviously there is much confusion, even in the medical world, about what the “flu” is.

The REAL flu is a virus called influenza.


When you contract influenza, you get “cold-like symptoms”: stuffy nose, joint aches, headache, coughing, fever and fatigue. It often seems like the flu except that you feel a LOT worse and it generally comes on very quickly. When people get a “flu vaccine”, they are getting vaccinated against THIS virus- Influenza. When the news reports on the Avian Flu or the Bird Flu, it is THIS virus that they are talking about.

Now, when you get a gastrointestinal illness, usually accompanied by diarrhea and often nausea and vomiting, this is NOT influenza, but likely it’s some other virus… possibly the Norovirus. Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It often goes through a household or office with EVERYONE getting it very quickly. Many people think that they have food poisioning when they get the norovirus. This is the virus that often effects entire cruiseships, making hundreds miserable.

But this is not the flu. And here is no vaccine to prevent you from getting this uncomfortable gastrointestinal problem. I hope that clears up any confusion about the flu for anyone who thought that gastrointestinal problems were somehow related to the influenza vaccine or the Bird Flu.

However, these two viruses ARE LINKED!


However, having a poor immune system is responsible for BOTH of these diseases. While yes, they are “contagious”, you need not CATCH them from other people if your immune system is “bulletproof”. It is a MYTH that someone else GIVES you a cold, the flu, or the norovirus- YOU give it to yourself by not being able to fight it off. Want to learn how to make your immune system bulletproof? I can teach you and you’ll stay healthy for the rest of your life.

About Kerri Knox, RN

The author is a Registered Nurse and Functional Medicine Practitioner. With 20 years of experience in health care, she has the unique perspective of being solidly grounded in both Conventional Medicine and Alternative Medicine. She can help you to to find and repair the underlying causes of chronic illness, while empowering you to take charge of your own health. She is the owner and author of this blog and website.

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