Common Symptoms of Flu

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Flu season peaks between December and March, however, it is possible to contract the flu at any time of the year. If you come into contact with an individual who has the flu, the chances of you getting it are high. This is because the flu is very contagious. You can get it if someone who has the virus coughs or sneezes around you. Also, if a person with the flu touches something that you touch after, you can catch the flu. The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Most people try to avoid catching the flu because the symptoms can make them miserable for up to a week.

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What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

The symptoms of the flu often mimic those of the common cold, however, the symptoms of the flu are more severe and they last longer. Also, the symptoms of the flu come on suddenly, while the symptoms of a cold come on gradually. Below is a list of the most common flu symptoms.

  • Sneezing: Most people who have the flu start out by sneezing. Some aren’t sure whether they have allergies, a cold or the flu.
  • Coughing: Coughing is very common with the flu, however, it won’t be a productive cough like you would often get when you have a cold. A cough caused by the flu is usually a hacking, dry cough.
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose: If you have the flu, you will often start with a runny nose and then it will become stuffy. This can make you quite miserable while you are sick.
  • Headaches: Many people who get the flu will experience a pounding headache.
  • Achy Joints: Most people who have the flu will have aches and pains in their joints. Just moving around can cause you pain.
  • Weakness and Fatigue: When a person has the flu, they will feel very weak and tired. Regardless of how much rest they get, they will feel like it is not enough.
  • Sore Throat: A sore throat is very common with the flu. It can make it difficult to eat or drink anything.
  • Hot, Painful Skin: When a person has the flu, their skin can become very sensitive. Even touching the skin can be uncomfortable.
  • Fever: The most common symptom that can help you tell if you have a cold or the flu is a fever. If you have a cold, you can have a low-grade fever of 100 to 101 degrees. If it is the flu, your fever can reach 104 degrees.
  • Painful or Burning Eyes: If you have the flu, you might notice that you have pain around your eyes or that they burn when you close them.

Testing For the Flu

If you go to your doctor, they can run a blood test to determine if you have Influenza A or Influenza B. If both are negative, chances are you just have a very bad cold.

Preventing the Flu

The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get the flu vaccine. Because the vaccine is only effective for a year, you would need to get one annually. Other ways to keep from catching the flu is to wash your hands frequently during flu season, drink plenty of fluids, and try to avoid people who are sick.

The symptoms of the flu can make you feel miserable and they can keep you laid up in bed for days. Also, it can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia. The flu vaccine is very important to keep from getting the flu in the first place.
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