Flu is also known as influenza. It is a fairly common viral respiratory infection. Flu causes an illness that ranges from being mild to severe, and in some cases, it can lead to death. The influenza test identifies whether a virus is present or not in the respiratory secretion sample. The flu is seasonal. It breaks out in the latter half of fall and ends in the early stages of spring. Each season it afflicts nearly millions of Americans. There are several signs of the flu, including headache, chills, muscle pain, exhaustion, stuffy nose, cough, sore throat. These are more severe in comparison to common cold symptoms and also last longer. There are main types of influenza viruses, known as A and B. Both of them are responsible for the yearly flu epidemics and pandemics. Type C, on the other hand, is responsible for some mild respiratory illnesses and does not really cause epidemics. The influenza virus A has some subtypes named hemagglutinin
and neuraminidase. The most common influenza A virus has subtypes H1N1 and H3N2. Generally speaking, it is common for doctors to diagnose the flu without lab tests
, particularly when flu season is at its peak and has been documented in a particular area. However, flu testing is useful in ruling out other illnesses and prevents people from using antibiotics unnecessarily. They can thus get on antiviral therapy early on, which is by far the most effective treatment Flu testing is also helpful in cases where there is an outbreak of some kind of respiratory illness in a hospital, home, school, or some communal area. It also aids health departments in keeping track of the illness. Because virus strains change every year, testing also aids in monitoring subtypes.