Runny Nose, Fever, and More Flu Symptoms to Watch for
The flu is a common infectious viral illness that is transmitted by sneezes and coughs that can lead to some pretty nasty symptoms. While the flu can make you feel extremely uncomfortable, it usually only lasts about a week.
Although you can catch it any season of the year, the flu is particularly common during the winter, and that is why it often called the seasonal flu.
What Are the Signs of the Flu?
The flu is different from the common cold, as a different set of viruses triggers it, and the signs and symptoms tend to begin more abruptly, become more serious, and last longer than a typical cold.
A fever usually results in an upsurge of internal body temperature. It can be low, within the range of 100F (37.7C), or rise to 104F (40C). Young kids are more likely to have high temperatures of up to 106F (41.1C).
Some individuals with flu may feel feverish and chilled at the same time. As with many flu symptoms, a fever may last for approximately seven days.
A headache caused by the flu tends to be severe and spreads to the forehead and underneath the eyes. A headache associated with the flu may have additional eye symptoms such as a burning sensation, redness, and sensitivity to light, as well as tearing.
During the initial stages of the infection, the flu often causes a dry, stubborn and commonly painful cough. It may begin as a mild cough but becomes more severe as the infection progresses. Another symptom that accompanies a dry cough is a sensation of discomfort and breathlessness. A cough associated with the flu can persist for longer than two weeks.
General Weakness and Fatigue
People with the flu tend to feel generally weak and tired. This feeling can be so strong that it prevents them from doing their day-to-day activities like going to work or school. The infection hinders them from getting sufficient sleep and they are completely fatigued for the majority of the day.
Sore Throat and Malaise
A sore throat caused by the flu typically lasts between three to five days and can be quite painful. Malaise is often the first sign of the flu and is characterized by an overall feeling of distress, illness and restlessness.
Muscle Pain, Joint Soreness and Stomach Issues
Pains and aches caused by the flu can range from mild to severe, and typically happen in the legs, back and arms. Although not all types of the flu may trigger stomachache, some strains may lead to stomach issues such as decreased appetite, vomiting, stomach cramps and/or diarrhea.
Some individuals with the flu, especially kids, may get leg cramps. These cramps may be so painful that the child is unable to walk or walks with a limp.
Stuffy or Runny Nose
Sneezing and stuffy nose are mostly considered as symptoms of the common cold, but flu can also trigger these symptoms in some people. A stuffy or a runny nose occurs due to excessive synthesis of mucus in the sinuses.
Usually, the sinuses generate mucus to safeguard, lubricate and soothe feeble tissues within the sinuses. The mucus is also helpful in catching harmful germs and particles before they get to the essential tissues. However, when the sinuses begin to produce excess mucus, it runs out of the sinuses and eventually out of the nose.
How Do You Catch Flu?
The flu virus is present in the millions of small droplets that are expelled out of the mouth and nose when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets usually diffuse approximately one meter and suspend in the air for a short duration before settling on surfaces, where they remain infectious for 24 hours.
Any person who inhales the droplets can contract the flu. Touching the surfaces containing the droplets and then touching your mouth or nose is another way of catching the virus.
Day-to-day items within the home setting or in public places have a high likelihood of being tainted with the flu virus. These surfaces include food, remote controls, telephones, door handles and computer keyboards. It is therefore essential to practice meticulous hygiene, particularly during the flu season.
Knowing the initial flu symptoms can help to stop the spread of this infectious illness and help you manage your symptoms before they get out of control.
Many medical practitioners recommend the annual flu vaccine to protect against the flu; however, it is not ideal for everyone, so it is important that you speak to your physician to determine if it is a suitable option for you.