What Are Flu Symptoms

Have you ever found yourself wondering whether you had a flu or had just caught a common cold? If so, your confusion is well justified because the symptoms are quite similar, with one key difference. A cold is rarely accompanied by a very high fever; a flu is.  Here are more information about flu symptoms to help you prepare.


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Why Should We know About Flu Symptoms?

Influenza is a respiratory infection caused by one of any number of viruses circulating each flu season. There are many strains of flu viruses floating around and all of them are extremely contagious. Thus, they need to be recognized and dealt with immediately in order to avoid the spread of the virus as much as possible. Your basic flu will run its course with little you can do other than get lots of bed rest and push liquids. However, it can become dangerous to a persons with chronic medical conditions or the elderly.

The sooner you recognize your flu symptoms for what they are, the easier the illness is to contain. There are some prescription medications, such as Relenza or Tamiflu, that may help with the more common strains of flu, but only if given within 48 hours of the first appearance of symptoms. They may shorten the duration of your bout with the flu. Ask your doctor if he recommends taking one of these antiviral medications.

When Is the Flu Season?

Seasonal flu usually begins at the start of autumn and runs through the spring. You will know you’re in the height of flu season when there is a high rate of  absenteeism in the local schools. School age children pass the “bug” around from one to another very quickly. Then they bring it home to share with their brothers and sisters and the adults in the family. This is the time to stress to your school-age kids the importance of hand-washing and good hygiene.

How To Differentiate Flu Symptoms From Cold Symptoms.

Flu symptoms generally come on suddenly whereas cold symptoms hit more gradually. A flu is usually accompanied by a sudden onset of fever, possibly a headache and/or muscle or joint aches, and a general malaise. In addition, a person who has contracted a flu may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Generalized weakness;
  •  Watery eyes and warm, flushed;
  • Dry cough; and
  • Sore throat and watery discharge from your nose.

Contrary to popular belief, a seasonal influenza is not generally associated with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or vomiting. These are, however, symptoms of a typical stomach flu (gastroenteritis).

Common Flu Symptoms in Children.

A child with a seasonal flu will manifest such symptoms as a high-grade fever (up to 104 degrees F), plus muscle aches and headaches, chills, a dry cough or sore throat or a general sick feeling. These symptoms will run from three to four days, with the cough and weakness lingering for a while longer.

What About Flu Symptoms in Infants and Toddlers?

In young children, there may also be a croupy cough and bronchitis or pneumonia. Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting are not uncommon. Along with the high fever comes irritability. To protect young children and curb the spread of flu throughout the school system, the CDC recommends each school age child get the  seasonal flu vaccine every year.

Complications Associated With the Flu.

Complications from flu include ear infections, bacterial pneumonia, sinus infections, and dehydration. It can also aggravate chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes or asthma.

Source – WebMD

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