Recently, a study in mice has given clues about the influence that obesity has on the severity of suffering from the common flu, caused by the influenza virus.
The American Society for Microbiology published the article that explains the main cause of the obesity-flu influence: obese people do not have good immune or defense responses to viruses. This can be summed up as the ease with which the virus enters the body and replicates quickly.
To prove this, the researchers compared a sample of normal-weight, fit mice and another sample of obese mice with influenza viruses. It was found that there is greater virulence, or ability to produce disease, among obese mice.
But what does it mean that obesity influences the flu?
Generally speaking, all people create an immune or defensive response to any infection. In fact, many of us can come into contact with the agent that causes many illnesses and not be infected because our defense system easily eliminates it.
In the case of overweight or obese people, the immune system does not work in the same way; that is, it needs to be overstressed to cope with the diseases. The virus enters the body more quickly and, when mistakes are made in protecting against infection, it is easier for it to generate disease.
In addition, it is being studied that, by presenting more fat in the body, the fatty acids that cover our cells allow the virus to enter more easily.
Therefore, in the case of the flu, by infecting ourselves and not properly dealing with this infection, it will make the situation worse. In other words, the severity of the flu in this type of person will be more complex and evident.
Suffering any respiratory disease, added to an alteration of our natural protection system or immune system, increases the risk of complications.
In the case of the flu, it has been proven that having an excess of body fat is considered a very influential risk factor in the transmission and evolution of the influenza virus, better known as common flu.