The influenza virus, when it enters the body, triggers an immune response that results in a flood of inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals cause blood vessels to become leaky, allowing immune cells to travel to the site of infection and attack the virus. This process leads to characteristic flu symptoms such as muscle and joint aches.
Inflammation also affects nerves in the body, making them more sensitive to pain. This intensifies the discomfort caused by muscle and joint aches, making the flu feel even more miserable. The combination of inflammation and increased nerve sensitivity is what makes flu symptoms so uncomfortable.
Over-the-counter pain relievers that reduce inflammation can help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with the flu. Additionally, understanding the role of inflammation in flu symptoms can inform the development of new treatments for the flu that target this response directly.