Flu Brain: Here’s What the Virus Does to Your Central Nervous System

Flu brain is a thing. And this season especially, everyone’s trying to avoid it. And no, you aren’t imagining it. People really are throwing you side-eye when you cough, sneeze or sniffle in public. Nobody wants the flu.

You likely know the symptoms all too well. But did you ever wonder what havoc these viruses play inside of the body, particularly the brain? Since the flu in 2018 is behaving more aggressively than it has in recent years, this information is more important than ever. And plus, it’s just really cool info.

Cold & Flu: Basic Symptoms & ‘Flu Brain’

When it comes to colds and the flu, the cause of infection is often unknown. Was it little Susie? Or the doorknob at work? What comes next though, is all too familiar. The coughing, the sore throat, brain fog, crankiness, fatigue, stuffy nose, and aches. This is known collectively as sickness behavior. Cold and flu symptoms are often grouped together but the two can have some distinct differences.

Both the cold and flu viruses induce fatigue/weakness, a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat pain and coughing, but the flu virus is characterized by an accompanying fever, headache, exhaustion and general body aches and pains.

As you lay there, unable to function or move properly, as haziness takes over your brain, you may be wondering, “What is happening inside of my head?” This is what I like to call “flu brain.”

What Is Flu Brain

Immune Response

To understand the effects a virus has on your brain, AKA flu brain, you must first understand the very basic response the immune system sets off when it senses a pathogen. The body’s response to being infiltrated by any kind of foreign substance causes the immune system to become activated. The immune system is the defense mechanism to prevent an infection or pathogen from getting out of control and causing serious damage to the body.


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Dr. Tom Roselle
Dr. Tom Roselle, DC, PAK, PAc, DCCN, DCBCN is an integrative health & wellness expert, author, talk show host, practicing health care professional, facility director, philanthropist and Chairman of the International College of Applied Kinesiology. He is well known for his mid-Atlantic health radio talk show, "Dr. Tom Roselle Live!," his acclaimed self-health book, "Ageless Health: Health Is A Do-It-To-Yourself Program" and his twice Emmy® award nominated television broadcast, "Ageless Health - The Special."