Influenza Clinical Research
While there are currently a number of treatments available for influenza (often called “the flu”), researchers are constantly striving to develop more effective and safer vaccines. Through new clinical trials on influenza, they are discovering better ways of preventing this infectious disease, as well as better methods of diagnosing influenza following the onset of initial signals such as fever and nausea.
If you have exhausted all of the more traditional methods, and you’re still dealing with the symptoms of influenza, then it may be time to try something new.
Influenza Clinical Trials
There are a number of influenza clinical trials testing new treatment methods here in Florida. These trials are developed by pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies, and designed specifically to test the safety and efficacy of treatments for humans. By volunteering for our fully supervised influenza vaccine clinical study, you may receive an investigational influenza vaccine that surpasses any already-existing vaccine on the market. Not only would this give you priority access, but your participation can help us all better understand this virus.
Participating in a influenza clinical trial in Florida can be as simple as agreeing to become involved and would require some tests and a visit to our clinic. Participants are compensated for time and travel, and the study-related care (including physical examinations, laboratory services and study medicines) are all provided.
Differences Between the Flu and a Cold
Every now and then, you might meet someone who talks about the common cold and the influenza virus as though they are interchangeable. As you likely know, this is not the case. However, considering that the two can be hard to tell apart without being tested by a doctor, it’s understandable that some people make this mistake.
So how do you tell the influenza virus and a common cold apart?
Time of Year
Although somewhat more widespread during the winter, the common cold can hit at any time of year. Flu season, on the other hand, usually runs from fall to spring and hits its peak during the winter months.
Though they’re both more widespread in the winter, the flu is a far more seasonal condition. It is rare to catch the flu outside of flu season, while the common cold (as its name would suggest) is common year round.
Though the symptoms of influenza and the common cold can easily be confused at first sight, here are some ways to tell the difference:
- If you have a common cold, your cough is likely to be normal-to-wet, perhaps with gunk. If you have the flu, it’s usually dry and hacking.
- If you have a common cold, you might experience mild tiredness. If you have influenza, you could feel profound fatigue for up to two weeks.
- If you have a cold, you might experience a sinus headache (although, a sinus headache isn’t technically a headache) or some body aches. If you have the flu, you might experience a full-fledged headache and severe muscle or body aches.
- If you have a cold, your fever will probably be mild to moderate. If you have influenza, you might not have a fever at all– or have a moderate to high one.
- A cold is often accompanied by sneezing, whereas the flu is likely to give you shaking chills.
Both the common cold and influenza can come with a runny or stuffy nose and sore throat.
When it comes to treatment options, the common cold and the flu have a few things in common:
- They are both viral, which means antibiotics are not a treatment option
- They both require lots of fluids
- They both require lots of rest
Treatments for the common cold are usually over-the-counter. They include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral drug for the flu; however, they must be taken within the first 48 hours of getting sick to actually make a positive impact such as shortening the duration of the flu or preventing complications such as pneumonia.
These antiviral drugs include:
- oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
- peramivir (Rapivab)
- zanamivir (Relenza)
That being said, people often don’t act within the first 48 hours of catching the flu. Perhaps they don’t realize it’s the flu, or perhaps they simply choose to ride it out. In either case, there are still some things you can do. In addition to drinking lots of water and getting good rest, you can opt for over-the-counter decongestants and pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Just make sure to run anything you plan on giving a child by his or her pediatrician first. Children should never receive aspirin, as it can increase their risk of Reye’s syndrome.
Influenza is definitely a case where the best defense is a solid offense.
The flu shot may leave you a little sore, but it’s better than risking the potential weeks of body aches and overall misery!
Not only does the flu shot protect you from the flu, but it has also actually been proven to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. There are two theories as to why this may be the case.
Vulnerable Plaque Theory
This theory states that inflammation caused by the flu might turn stable plaque into unstable plaque. Plaque builds up when the following build up in the lining of the arteries:
- fatty substances
When turned unstable, this plaque can cause a cardiac event.
Vulnerable Patient Theory
This theory states that the side effects of the flu may strain the heart, causing a cardiac event. These side effects include:
- fast heart rate
- low oxygen
- low blood pressure
- possible pneumonia
An Animated Video about Influenza
Resources for Influenza
- Seasonal Flu – CDC
- Cold and Flu Center – WebMD
- Key Facts About Flu Vaccine – CDC
- MedlinePlus – National Institute of Health
We look forward to hearing from you!
We’d just like to let you know that you’re free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Not only do we conduct clinical trials on the flu, we also conduct research on many other medical conditions and treatments. Please feel welcome to call us at (386) 785-2400!
Also, our sister site Achieve Clinical Research conducts influenza vaccine clinical trials in Birmingham, Alabama.