Flu symptoms

Flu symptoms

Everything You Need to Know About the Flu – Flu symptoms

Flu/influenza  shots for kids

Flu season occurs from fall to early spring — and it comes with sneezing, sniffling, coughing, fatigue, and all the familiar trapping of the flu.

The severity of this illness varies from person to person, but the COVID-19 pandemic lends a new urgency to protecting ourselves while both these viruses surge in the upcoming months.

Flu shots are always important, but they are even more important this year to protect the population, and especially vulnerable groups, from getting flu while COVID-19 is still a threat for us.

Flu symptoms

Difference between a cold and the flu (Flu symptoms)

The common cold and the flu seem similar at first sight. They both are respiratory illnesses and may cause similar symptoms. But different viruses cause different conditions.


Your symptoms may help you tell the difference between them.

Both cold and the flu share a few common symptoms. People with either illness often experience:


runny or stuffy nose

general fatigue

body aches


Flu symptoms are more severe than the cold symptoms.

Another distinct difference between these two is how serious they are. Cold rarely cause other health conditions or problems. But the flu can lead to:

ear infections





If your symptoms are severe, you may want to confirm either a cold or flu diagnosis. Your doctor will run tests that can help determine what’s behind your symptoms.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, call ahead for the protocol on visiting a doctor in person or having an online visit.

Cold and flu symptoms should also be treated with extreme care due to their overlap with COVID-19 symptoms.

If your doctor diagnoses a cold in your body, you’ll only need to treat your symptoms until the virus has run its course. These treatments can include:

staying hydrated

getting plenty of rest

using over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications

For the flu, taking flu medicine early in the virus’ cycle may help reduce severity of the illness and shorten the time that you are sick. Rest and hydration are also beneficial for people with the flu.


What’s the difference between the flu and COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19, the allergies, and flu have some overlap, but are often different. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:



shortness of breath


Sneezing is not typical in this case.

Flu symptoms are similar to COVID-19 including fever, body aches and headache. But we may not find shortness of breath as a symptom with the flu.

Allergy symptoms are usually more chronic and include coughing, sneezing, and wheezing.


What are the symptoms of flu?

Here are some of the common symptoms of flu:



The flu always causes an increase in your body temperature. This is also known as a fever.

Most flu-related fevers range from a low-grade fever around 100°F (37.7°C) to as high as 103°F (40°C).

Although it is alarming as it is not uncommon for young children to have higher fevers than adults. If you suspect your child has the flu, see their doctor.


You may feel “feverish” when you have an elevated temperature in your body. Signs include sweats, chills, or being cold despite your body’s high temperature. Most fevers last for less than 1 week, usually around 4 to 5 days.



A dry and persistent cough is common with the flu. The cough may worsen and become uncomfortable and painful.

You may sometimes experience shortness of breath or chest discomfort during this suffering. Many flu-related coughs can last for about 2-3 weeks.

Muscle aches

Flu-related muscle pains are most common in your back, neck, arms, and legs. They can often be severe by making it difficult to move even when trying to perform basic tasks.



The first symptom of the flu may be a severe headache. Sometimes symptoms, including light and sound sensitivity, go along with your headache.



Feeling tired is a not so obvious symptom of the flu. Feeling generally unwell can be a sign of these conditions. These feelings of tiredness and fatigue may come on fast and may be difficult to overcome.


Flu shot: To know the facts:


Influenza is a serious virus that leads to many illnesses every year. You don’t have to be young or have a compromised immune system to get gravely ill from the flu. Healthy people may get sick from the flu and spread it to friends and family.

In some cases, the flu can even be deadly. Flu-related deaths are most common in people ages 70 and older, but it can be seen in children and young adults.

The best and most efficient way to avoid flu and prevent spreading it is to get a flu vaccination.

The flu vaccine is available in the following forms:

high-dose injectable shot (for those over age 65)

intradermal shot

injectable shot

nasal spray

More the people that get vaccinated against the flu, the less the flu can spread. It also helps with herd immunity, helping to protect those who cannot get vaccines for medical reasons.

Vaccination can also help lessen the severity of the illness if you end up getting the flu.


How does the flu shot work?

To make vaccines, scientists select the strains of the flu virus that research suggests will be the most common in the coming flu season. Millions of vaccines with those strains are produced and distributed.

Once you receive a vaccine, your body begins to produce antibodies against those strains of the virus. These antibodies provide protection against the virus.

If you come into contact with the flu virus again at a later point, you can avoid contracting it.

You can get sick if you end up coming into contact with a different strain of the virus. But the symptoms will be less severe because you already had the vaccination.

Who should get the flu shot?

Doctors recommend that everyone who is over the age of 6 months Trusted Source receive the flu vaccine. This is especially true for people in high-risk categories Trusted Source like:

pregnant women

people ages 18 and under who receive aspirin therapy

people over age 65

children under age 5

people whose body mass index is 40 or higher

caregivers to any of the above

anyone working or living in a nursing home or chronic care facility

anyone with chronic medical conditions

Most doctors also recommend that everyone get their flu vaccine by the end of October. This way your body will have time to develop the right antibodies before flu season kicks into gear.

Even if you don’t get the flu shot by October 31, it’s not too late. Even if it is well into flu season, it’s always helpful to get the flu shot.

It takes about 2 weeks for antibodies to develop against the flu after vaccination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that both the flues and the new coronavirus, COVID-19, will be spreading this year. Because of this the vaccine will be more important than ever.


Side effects of the flu shot

Many people report avoiding the flu vaccine each year for fear that it will make them sick. It’s important to understand that the flu vaccine can’t cause you to develop the flu.

You aren’t going to become sick because you received the vaccine. Flu vaccines contain dead flu virus. These strains aren’t strong enough to cause an illness.

Like other shots, you may experience some side effects from the flu shot. These side effects are often mild and only last a short period of time. The side effects of a shot outweigh the possible symptoms of developing the flu later.


The most common side effects of the flu shot include:

mild aches and stiffness

low-grade fever in the days immediately following the injection

soreness around the injection site

Any side effects that may occur often last only for a day or two. Many people won’t experience any side effects at all.

On rare occasions, some people can have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccination. If you had an allergic reaction to any vaccine or medication before, talk to your doctor.


How long does the flu last?

Most people recover from the flu in about a week. But it may take several more days for us to feel back to normal. It’s not uncommon to feel tired for several days if your flu symptoms have subsided.

It’s more important to stay home from school or work until you’ve been free of fever for at least 24 hours (and that’s without taking fever-reducing medications).

If you have the flu, it may be passed to another person a day before your symptoms appear and up to 5–7 days afterward.


If you have any cold or flu symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should isolate yourself while getting tested and continue to practice good hygiene such as:

disinfecting high-touch areas

washing your hands

avoiding contact with others

wearing a face covering

Treatment options for the flu

In most of the cases the flu is mild enough that you can treat yourself at home without prescription medications.


You should also:

Drink plenty of fluids. This includes soup, water, and low-sugar flavored drinks.

Treat these symptoms such as headache and fever with OTC medications.

Wash your hands to prevent the virus spreading to other surfaces or to other people in your house.

Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues. Immediately dispose of the tissues.

Wear a face covering in public.

If symptoms become worse, call your doctor immediately. He may prescribe an antiviral medicine. The sooner you take this meditation, the more effective it is. You should start the treatment within 48 hours from when your symptoms start.


Contact your doctor as soon as the symptoms appear if you’re at high risk for flu-related complications.


High-risk groups include:

women who are pregnant or up to 3 weeks postpartum

people with weak immune systems

people who are at least 60 years old

children under 6 years old (in particular, those under age 2)

people who living in chronic care facilities or nursing homes

people having chronic conditions, such as heart or lung disease

Your doctor may test for the flu virus right away. He may also prescribe an antiviral medication to prevent complications.


When is flu season?

In the United States of America, the main flu season stretches from October to March. Cases of the flu peak between December and February, according to the CDCTrusted Source. But you can get the flu at any time of the year.

You are more likely to get sick during the fall and winter months. This is because at this time you’re spending more time in close quarters with other people and are also exposed to lots of different illnesses.

You’re more likely to catch the flu in your body if you already have a different virus. This is because other infections may weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to new ones.


Remedies for flu symptoms :


Keep these treatments in mind if you have the flu:

Expectorants. This type of medication helps loosen thick sinus secretions that make your body feel clogged and cause coughing.

Decongestants. This type of medication can help relieve nasal congestion and pressure in your ears and sinuses. Each type of decongestant can cause some kind of side effects, so be sure to read labels to find the one that’s best for you.

Pain relievers. Analgesics like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often recommended to help to ease symptoms. These include muscle aches and headache, pains and fever.

Cough suppressants. Coughing is a common flu symptom, and some medications may help relieve it. If you don’t want to take medication, some cough drops also use honey and lemon to ease a sore throat and cough.

Warning: Children and teens should never take aspirin in any illness. This is because of the risk of a rare but fatal condition known as Reye’s syndrome.


Be careful not to mix the medications. Using unnecessary medication could cause unwanted side effects in your body. It’s best to take medicines that apply to your predominant symptoms.

In the meantime, rest as much as you can. Your body is fighting hard against the influenza virus, so it is suggested to give it plenty of downtime. Call in sick, stay at home, and get better. Don’t go to work or school with a fever.

You should also drink plenty of fluids. Water, low-sugar sports drinks, and soup can also help you stay hydrated. Warm liquids like soup and tea have the added benefit of helping ease pain from a sore throat.


Flu symptoms in adults

Flu-related fever appears in adults and can also be severe. For many adults, a sudden high fever is the earliest symptom of the flu. It may also be a sign of COVID-19.

Adults rarely spike a fever unless they have a serious infection in their body. The flu virus causes an abrupt high temperature that’s greater than 100°F (37.8°C).

Other viral infections, like a cold, may cause low-grade fevers.

Beyond this, adults and children share many of the same symptoms. Some people may experience one or several symptoms more than another.The symptom of each person will be different.


What’s the incubation period of the flu?

The typical incubation period for the flu is 1 to 5 days. Incubation refers to the period during which the virus remains in your body and is developing.

During this time, you may not feel any symptoms of the virus. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to pass it to someone else. Many people are capableof transmitting the virus to others  day before symptoms appear.

The millions of tiny droplets that are produced when you sneeze, cough, or talk, spread the flu virus. These droplets enter our body through your nose, mouth, or eyes.


You may also get the flu by touching a surface that has the virus on it and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.


The symptoms of norovirus include:



stomach cramping


These symptoms occur in the gastrointestinal system in our body. That’s why the 24-hour flu is sometimes called a “stomach flu.” Although it’s called the “24-hour flu,” you may be ill for up to 4 days.


The symptoms of the 24-hour flu and influenza (the flu) may be different. The flu is a respiratory illness. Respiratory system symptoms of the flu include:



runny nose


body aches


Some people with influenza may experience nausea and vomiting while they are sick. But these symptoms are not as common in adults.


Is the flu contagious to others?

If you have the flu, certainly you’re contagious — meaning you may pass the flu to others.

Many people can spread the virus as early as a day before they show symptoms in their body. In other words, you may be transmitting the virus to others before you even realize that you’re sick.

You may still be spreading the virus 6 to 7 days after your symptoms appear. Young children are often able to pass the virus for more than 6 days after symptoms first appear.

People who have a weaker immune system may experience the virus symptoms longer, too.

If you are having the flu or any flu symptoms, stay at home. Do your part to prevent the spread of the virus to other people. If you’re diagnosed, alert anyone you came in contact with on the day before your symptoms appeared.


Is there medication for the flu?


Medications called antiviral drugs can treat the flu. You should have the prescription only then you may buy these medications over the counter at a pharmacy, and you may also visit the doctor or healthcare provider to receive a prescription.

Antiviral medications used to treat the flu can help to ease the symptoms. They can also shorten the length of the flu by a day or two.

Taking antiviral medications may help if you get the flu, but these medications also have side effects. Talk to your doctor to understand the risks before they occur.

Research suggests antiviral medications work best if you take them within 48 hours of having the symptoms. If you miss that window, don’t worry. You may still see a benefit from taking the medicine later.

This is especially true if you are at high risk or are ill. Taking antiviral medications can help protect you against flu complications. These include pneumonia and other infections.

Early symptoms of the flu

Symptoms of the flu appear quickly. The sudden onset of symptoms is often the flu’s first hallmark. With similar illnesses, such as a cold, it can take several days for symptoms to emerge.


Another common symptom of the flu is the breadth of pain. People with the flu report feeling uncomfortable all over their body as an early symptom.

You may feel as if you have been “hit by a truck.” Getting out of bed may prove to be difficult and slow going. This feeling may be an early symptom of the flu.


After this, other symptoms of the flu may begin appearing, making it obvious you have the virus.


Natural flu remedies :

If left untreated, a typical case of the flu often goes away for about 1 week. During that time, you have several treatment options for making symptoms easier to handle.


Some natural flu remedies may be helpful for easing symptoms. For instance, for a sore throat or cough, some options include:

warm tea


warm soup


Of course, rest is an important part of recovering from the flu, or any other type of virus.

Your body is fighting hard to get well soon. It’s wise for you to stop, rest, and get more sleep so that your immune system can fight back against the virus.

Options for over-the-counter (OTC) flu medicine

OTC medicines may help relieve symptoms of the flu, but they won’t treat it. If you have the flu and are looking for symptom relief, consider these medicines:


Cough suppressants. Coughing, especially at night, is a common flu symptom. OTC cough medicines can ease or suppress your cough reflex. Cough drops or lozenges can soothe a sore throat and suppress coughing.

Decongestants. Nasal decongestants help in breaking up mucus in your sinuses. This allows you to blow your nose. Decongestants come in several forms including oral (pill) decongestants that are inhaled and nasal decongestants.

Expectorants. This kind of medication may help you cough up phlegm if you have a lot of mucus or congestion in your chest.

If you take one of these combination medications, avoid taking other medicine with it. This ensures that you don’t have to take too much of any one type of medicine.


What causes the flu?

The flu is a virus that spreads in several ways. First, you contract the virus from a person near you who has the flu and sneezes, coughs, or talks.

The virus can also live on inanimate objects for 2 to 8 hours. If someone having the virus touches a common surface, like a door handle or a keyboard, and you touch the same surface, you could get the virus.

Once you have the virus on your hand, it may enter your body if you touch your mouth, eyes, or nose.


From where can I get a flu shot?

Most doctors’ in office carry the vaccine. You may also get the vaccine at:

county or city health departments

walk-in medical clinics



Some employers and schools offer flu shot clinics on site, though many are already closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those that are open will begin promoting flu vaccines as flu season approaches. Some even offer incentives such as coupons and tickets to encourage you to receive your vaccine.

If you can’t find a flu shot provider in your location, use a flu shot locator like the Vaccine Finder. This website lists businesses, phone numbers, and hours of operation.


Flu shot for the kids: What you should know

Each year, hundreds of thousands of children get sick from the flu. Some of these illnesses are severe and require hospitalization. Some may even result in death.

Children who get the flu are often at a higher risk than adults who get sick from the flu. For example, children under age 5 are more likely to need medical treatment for the flu.

Severe complications from influenza are most common in children under 2 years old. If your child has a chronic medical condition, like diabetes or asthma, the flu may be worse.

Visit your doctor right away if your child has been exposed to the flu or shows flu symptoms. Call ahead for the protocol around COVID-19 prevention.


The best way to protect your children against the flu is with a flu vaccination. Vaccinate children each year.

Doctors recommend flu vaccines for children starting at 6 months old.

Some children between ages 6 months and 8 years may need two or more doses for protection against the virus. If your child is receiving a vaccine for the first time, they will likely need two doses.

If your child only received one dose in the flu season prior, then they may need two doses this flu season. Ask your child’s doctor how many doses your child needs.

Children under 6 months of age are too young for a flu vaccine. To protect them, make sure the people around you get vaccinated. This includes family members and care providers too.


Drugs and treatments for the flu

Treating the flu mainly means relieving major symptoms of flu until your body clears the infection.

Antibiotics aren’t as effective against the flu because it’s caused by a virus, not bacteria. But your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infection that may be present. They’ll also likely recommend some combination of self-care and medication to treat your symptoms.


Self-care treatments 

People who are at high risk for flu complications should seek immediate medical attention. High-risk groups include:

women who are pregnant or up to 2 weeks postpartum

adults ages 65 years and older

In most cases, however, the flu just needs to run its course. The best treatments for people with the flu are plenty of fluids and lots of rest.

You will have short of an appetite, but it’s important to eat regular meals to keep up your strength.


If possible, stay home from work or school. Don’t go back until your symptoms subside.

To bring down a fever, place a cool and damp washcloth on your forehead or take a cool bath.

You may also use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever reducers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen .


Other self-care options include the following:

Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.

Have a bowl of hot soup to relieve nasal congestion.

Stop smoking, if you smoke.

Avoid alcohol consumption.


Over-the-counter medications

OTC medications won’t shorten the length of the flu, but they can also help reduce symptoms.

Pain relievers

OTC pain relievers can reduce the headache or back and muscle pain that often accompanies the flu.


In addition to the fever reducers acetaminophen and ibuprofen, other effective pain relievers are naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin (Bayer).


Cough suppressants

Cough suppressants reduce the cough reflex. They’re useful in controlling dry coughs without mucus. An example of this type of drug is dextromethorphan (Robitussin).



Decongestants can relieve a runny, stuffy nose caused by the flu. Some decongestants found in OTC flu medications include pseudoephedrine (in Sudafed) and phenylephrine (in DayQuil).


People with high blood pressure are generally told to avoid this type of medication, since it may increase blood pressure.


Itchy or watery eyes aren’t a common flu symptoms. But if you do have them, antihistamines can help. First-generation antihistamines have sedative effects that may also help you sleep.

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