When the influenza virus enters the body, it triggers an immune response that leads to the production 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 also causes characteristic flu symptoms such as muscle and joint aches.
Inflammation can also affect the nerves in the body, making them more sensitive to pain. This can intensify the feeling of muscle and joint aches, making them even more uncomfortable. The combination of inflammation and increased nerve sensitivity is what makes flu symptoms so unpleasant.
By understanding the role of inflammation in flu symptoms, it becomes clear why over-the-counter pain relievers that reduce inflammation can help alleviate some discomfort. Additionally, this knowledge can inform the development of new treatments for the flu that specifically target the inflammatory response itself.