Flu season is about to start, and so every family should learn the symptoms and risks. Proper care and response can help a person get through a flu bug more easily, and for young children or the elderly, early recognition can save lives.
Here's what you should know about the flu.
For many people, it's easy to mistake the flu for the common cold because some of the symptoms overlap. However, the flu is more serious than a cold, and it often needs medical intervention to treat. Early detection can help your chances of fighting the virus. Symptoms of the flue include:
- Intense fatigue. You can feel tired when you have a cold, but the fatigue from the flu is more pronounced and far reaching. You might feel tired just from walking up the stairs.
- Aches and chills. Unlike a cold, where you might have a headache and some neck soreness, the flu comes with muscle aches all over the body. You might also get shakes or chills. Chills can come from illness because of fever, but chills from the flu often happen independent of whether or not a fever sets in.
- Cough. You can have a cough. Unlike a cold though, the cough is often dry and you will not as much sneezing or mucus production when the flu starts. Later, if you have complications of the flu, you might have chest congestion that indicates the development of bronchitis or pnuemonia.
- Fever. Colds can sometimes bring a slight elevation in temperature. Fevers from the flu are often higher and longer lasting than a fever from the common cold.
The flu itself can take as long as a couple of weeks to fully resolve, and for people who are normally healthy, there is not that much risk. However, for people who have other health conditions, the flu can make it worse. This si why the flu is often bad for children and for older people who already struggle with breathing or heart problems.
The flu can cause sinus trouble, aggravate the lungs with coughing, and even cause ear infections (this is common in children). You should always monitor someone who is ill with the flu, because a turn for the worse can often come on suddenly. Blu skin, rapid pulse, dizziness, chest pain, and trouble breathing are all signs you need emergency care.
The flu normally require plenty of rest and fluids. For those who might have adverse reactions, the hospital may give antivirals to help prevent complications. For more information, contact your family doctor.