Symptoms of the Flu:
The flu involves a sudden onset of illness. It is usually accompanied by a high fever (greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) and extreme fatigue that knocks you off your feet. A dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, achy head and muscles, and chills associated with the high fever, are all symptoms of the flu. Children may also have diarrhea and vomiting.
Having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms.
It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor’s exam may be necessary to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long as you are tested within the first 2 or 3 days of illness.
Those at Risk For Complications:
If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult your health care provider. Those at risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.
You Can Infect Others:
Relatively healthy adults can infect others 1-2 days before any symptoms appear and can remain contageous for up to 5 days after getting sick.
If You Have the Flu:
If you think you have the flu STAY HOME! Others can get infected by your virus and if your immune system is weakened by the virus, you are more at risk for catching an illness from someone else who is sick. Drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. Call your doctor to find out if s/he wants you to come in for an examination or to find out what you can take to relieve your symptoms.