Flu symptoms (also known as influenza symptoms) often start suddenly and can range from mild to severe. Typical signs include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. Although similar to a common cold, the flu tends to be more intense and may lead to complications such as pneumonia if not properly managed.
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Early Warning Signs: How to Know It’s the Flu and Not Just a Cold
When you start to feel under the weather, it’s natural to wonder if it’s a common cold or the flu. The flu usually kicks in with a bang—you’ll feel fine one moment, and then suddenly, you’re hit with a slew of symptoms. So, how can you tell the difference?
A fever is often one of the first indicators that you’re dealing with the flu. In contrast to a cold, where a fever is rare, the flu almost always brings a high temperature. Your body’s way of fighting off the infection is to raise its internal thermostat, so you’ll likely experience a fever ranging from 100.4°F to 104°F.
Cough and Sore Throat
A dry, hacking cough and a sore throat are also common symptoms. Although you may experience these with a cold, they are usually more severe when it comes to the flu. Your throat may feel raw, and swallowing might become a difficult task.
Other Flu Symptoms to Keep an Eye On
Once the flu has you in its grip, other symptoms start to appear. These can make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, and unfortunately, they’re pretty unavoidable.
Body Aches and Chills
You’ll probably notice your muscles aching, especially in your back, arms, and legs. On top of that, you might experience chills, making you feel as if you’re freezing even when you’re under a pile of blankets.
If you’re coming down with the flu, you’ll likely feel unusually tired and drained. Even getting out of bed can seem like a monumental task. This is your body’s way of telling you to rest and recover.
Although it’s less common, the flu can also cause some people to have stomach issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms are more frequently seen in children but can affect adults as well.
Complications to Be Aware Of
The flu can be much more than a week of feeling terrible. If not managed properly, it can lead to serious complications.
Pneumonia: A Dangerous Turn
When the flu isn’t adequately treated or if you’re in a high-risk group, you may develop pneumonia. This is a severe lung infection that requires immediate medical attention. According to clinical studies, those with chronic health conditions, as well as the elderly, are at a higher risk.
Sinus and Ear Infections: Secondary Issues
Your initial flu symptoms can open the door for additional infections like sinus and ear infections. Although not as severe as pneumonia, they still require medical intervention.
How Long Will It Last?
Generally, you’ll start to feel better within a week or two. However, it’s crucial to listen to your body and get plenty of rest. With the flu, it’s always better to be cautious rather than regretful later.
Examples of over-the-counter medications that can help relieve symptoms include antipyretics for fever and cough suppressants. Yet, if your symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
To sum up, now you’re well-equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms of the flu. Always keep an eye out for these symptoms, especially during flu season, and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you.