People Suffering From Obesity Who Carry The Flu Virus May Be Contagious For An Extended Time

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Latest research shows that people who are obese may carry the influenza A virus for more extended periods of time compared to healthy weight people.

The study’s results suggested that obesity influences the severity of the flu’s symptoms but also the way in which the virus spreads.

Usually, having the flu is a common experience with moderate severity symptoms, but there can also be a list of more severe complications involved: sinus and ear infections, more serious complications such as pneumonia, brain inflammation, and heart inflammation and more.

Obesity is a health condition that increases the flu severity. Studies have shown that obesity raises the risk of complications and may even lead to death especially in older individuals.

Latest research suggested that obesity may also influence the period of time that it takes a person to shed the virus from their organism.

Aubree Gordon, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, is the lead author of this new research, which was published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Obesity triggers longer shedding and recovery period

Gordon and her team collected and analyzed data on about 1,783 people over the course of three flu seasons between 2015 and 2017 in Managua and Nicaragua. The experts took nose and throat samples from the participants, and these were tested for flu virus RNA.

What the study managed to prove was the fact that people suffering from obesity took longer to shed the flu virus than people with a healthy weight.

Obese individuals who had influenza shed the virus for 42% longer compared to the others.

More than that, obese individuals who had only mild influenza symptoms took even longer to recover. It took them 104% longer to shed the virus, compared to the ones who did not have obesity.

“This is the first real evidence that obesity might impact more than just disease severity […] It might directly impact transmission as well,” Gordon said.

It’s crucial to develop effective strategies to prevent and control the flu, especially in the overweight and obese population.


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