The flu (influenza virus) is a contagious illness. It is a viral infection that hits the respiratory system. Young children, individuals over the age of 65, and people with weak immune systems have a higher chance of developing more severe symptoms when they catch the flu.
There is no cure for the flu but recognizing the earliest signs of infection can help you keep it from worsening. For example, a prescription antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, if taken within 24-48 hours of getting sick, can help shorten the duration of the flu as well as lessen the severity of its symptoms. This is one reason you may want to see your doctor or visit an urgent care facility as soon as possible if you think you may have the flu.
There are also numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can help alleviate flu symptoms. Receiving an annual flu shot can help prevent certain strains of the flu – and may help lessen the severity of flu symptoms, should you catch a different strain.
Here are the signs and symptoms of the flu that you should look for:
Sudden Excessive Fatigue
This symptom should not be confused with a general feeling of tiredness or everyday stress. Extreme fatigue is the earliest telltale sign of influenza. It involves a lack of energy to perform even the most routine tasks. This is because our bodies are using more energy to fight off the flu virus. Your immune system will require more energy to create the antibodies necessary to fend off the flu. The best way to address the symptom of sudden, excessive fatigue is to rest, avoid undue stress, and eat healthy meals to help strengthen your immune system.
Chills and Muscle Aches
Body aches are sometimes mistaken as the result of stress or physical exertion. But when accompanied by chills, it is a strong indicator you have the flu. Chills or shivering naturally occur before a fever develops. That’s because your immune system produces heat by muscle contraction, and the heat is used to fight infection. Likewise, body aches are a sign you are fighting off infection. Over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful to alleviate the pain.
Having a high body temperature is a sign your immune system is busy fighting an infection. However, not all people suffering from the flu will develop a fever. High fevers (104 F or higher), on the other hand, are dangerous and require immediate medical intervention.
The onset of the flu will more often than not include a scratchy, irritated, and sore throat. Influenza viruses can cause the throat to swell even before coughing occurs. As the viral infection progresses, your throat will only feel worse.
Coughing and Runny Nose
A dry or wet cough may indicate the flu, alongside congestion, and a runny nose. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Cough syrups and cough drops may also help with your symptoms. If you have other chronic respiratory conditions, consult your doctor as soon as possible to avoid further complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Loss of Appetite
The flu virus will cause you to lose your appetite. This symptom often occurs alongside digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. Your usual appetite will return after your recovery. It’s better to stick with basic, balanced meals so your body will continue to have the energy and nutrients it needs to fight off the virus.
Flu Treatment in Rochester, NY
Although the flu is very common, it can also lead to serious, complicated conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis, multi-organ failure, and inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue. Knowing the signs of the flu can help you identify it early, obtain symptomatic relief, and consult with a doctor to reduce the duration and severity of the flu as well as prevent further complications.
The compassionate and experienced providers at Cornerstone Urgent Care Center are committed to giving you and your family the personalized treatment you need. Visit our clinic located in Rochester, New York, or call (585) 207-0088. You can also contact us through this inquiry form.