I Think I Have Influenza Should I See A Doctor
Anyone at a higher risk of serious illness with flu-like symptoms should see their doctor as soon as possible.
Most people who are generally healthy wont need to see their doctor for the flu. As symptoms of the flu are similar to COVID-19, talk to your doctor about testing for COVID-19 infection.
If you have the flu, try to rest, maintain a good fluid intake, and manage your symptoms. This will help you recover and prevent dehydration. Your immune system will fight the infection and symptoms will usually clear up on their own.
If you do need to see a GP for your symptoms, make sure you call ahead first so they can make sure theres no one in an at-risk group around when you have your appointment.
Coughs: Sign Of Both Colds And Flu
Colds and flu are respiratory illnesses, which affect your airways, so both can cause coughing.
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can be a complication of the flu. Call your doctor if you have a persistent cough, fever higher than 102 F and chills, a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when you cough.
How To Treat Flu Symptoms
After contracting the flu virus, theres no way to eliminate it completely. In most cases, it will simply run its course. However, there are treatments to help manage and mitigate the symptoms. For example:
- Antiviral drugs: Since influenza is a viral infection, prescription antiviral medications like Tamiflu and Relenza can reduce the duration and severity of its symptoms.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen can alleviate muscle aches and reduce fever.
- OTC flu and cough medications: Cough and cold medicine like DayQuil can ease a cough, runny nose, sore throat, and other flu symptoms.
- Fluids: Helps with hydration and breaks up mucus, making it easier to dispel. Good options are water, real fruit juices, tea, and sports drinks, but avoid alcohol or excessive caffeine.
- Rest: Allows the body to focus on your immune system and helps avoid the exacerbation of fatigue and body aches. Staying home from work or social engagements also prevents the virus spread.
- Humidifiers and steam: Can alleviate a stuffy nose and cough.
- Cold compresses and tepid baths: This will help manage body temperature or at least keep the body feeling cool.
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Who Should Get An Annual Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following groups receive an annual flu vaccine shot between November and February :
- All people aged six months and older.
It is especially important for certain individuals at high risk of flu complications and those who come in contact with people at high risk of complications to receive the flu vaccine. These people at high risk include:
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- People who have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, kidney and liver disorders and chronic lung diseases.
- People with a weakened immune system, for example, people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic steroid users.
- Household members and caregivers of patients at risk of complications from the flu.
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season .
- Healthcare workers who come into close contact with patients in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare facilities.
- Infants and children ages six months through 18 years who are taking long-term aspirin therapy. This puts these individuals at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after flu infection.
- American Indians/Alaska natives.
- People who have close contact with children under five years of age for example, people who live with children, nannies and providers of daycare services.
- People with Class III obesity .
What To Expect With Influenza
Symptoms of the flu can hit very quickly and may last several weeks. A bout of the flu typically follows this pattern:
- Days 13: Sudden appearance of fever, headache, muscle pain and weakness, dry cough, sore throat and sometimes a stuffy nose.
- Day 4: Fever and muscle aches decrease. Hoarse, dry or sore throat, cough and possible mild chest discomfort become more noticeable. You may feel tired or flat.
- Day 8: Symptoms decrease. Cough and tiredness may last one to two weeks or more.
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Feeling Sick Use This Symptom Checker For Common Fall And Winter Illnesses
As the weather cools, viruses have a tendency to spread with more ease. Thats because people tend to spend more time indoors, where germs can circulate from one person to another through the air or close contact. This fall or winter, if you find yourself sniffling and sneezing, or experiencing an upset stomach, you could have a common virus.
Weve created a symptom checker to help you tell the difference between cold and flu symptoms, COVID-19 symptoms and norovirus symptoms. Read on to learn more, and remember to always call your doctor if you have any concerns about your health.
When Should You Contact A Healthcare Provider
“If you suspect you have the flu, then you should see within 48 hours because medicine has to be taken very quickly,” said Dr. Peterson. “Err on the side of caution.”
Dr. Khabbaza added that if you’re unable to go about your normal routine, you should consider heading to a healthcare provider. Also, if certain symptoms get worse, that could be an indication of the flu or another serious condition, not just a chest cold, and you, again, should consider getting checked out as soon as possible.
For example, if your body aches progress “to the point you can barely move around,” or if your symptoms are causing difficulty breathing, it’s definitely time to head to a healthcare provider, said Dr. Khabbaza.
Shortness of breath or chest pain, in particular, can indicate many medical emergencies, such as a pulmonary embolism , that require prompt treatment.
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Where Should You Go For Testing And Treatment
If you can’t get in, check with your insurance to see which urgent care clinics it will cover. Often urgent care clinics let you book an appointment online so you don’t spend your day waiting in the waiting room.
You should head to the emergency room if you are having trouble breathing or you are wheezing. If you are feeling so sick that you cannot eat or drink, you also need to go to the emergency room to get fluids.
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Can You Have The Flu Without A Cough
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Some Of My Symptoms Match Each Virus How Do I Know What I’m Sick With
Getting tested for COVID-19 and the flu is the easiest way to narrow down what might be making you sick.
You should get immediate emergency care if you have:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Stuffy Nose: May Mean A Cold
Unless you’re also feverish, very achy, and just plain zapped of energy, you likely have a cold — although many people with the flu also say they have a stuffy nose and sneezing.
Both colds and the flu can lead to sinus infections. In addition to thick yellow or green nasal discharge, sinus infections can cause headaches and pain in the forehead, cheeks, and nasal bridge. The pain usually gets worse with sudden head movement or strain. Sometimes, you can get a secondary bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment.
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How Long Does Flu Last And Is It Serious
If you have flu, you generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected.
You should begin to feel much better within a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer.
You’ll usually be most infectious from the day your symptoms start and for a further 3 to 7 days. Children and people with weaker immune systems may remain infectious for longer.
Most people will make a full recovery and won’t experience any further problems, but elderly people and people with certain long-term medical conditions are more likely to have a bad case of flu or develop a serious complication, such as a chest infection.
Read more about the complications of flu
Emergency Cold And Flu Symptoms
Fever above 102Â°F or a fever that lasts a long time
A cold that lasts for more than 10 days
Trouble breathing, fast breathing, or wheezing
Earache or drainage from the ear
Flu-like symptoms that get better but come back later with a fever and a worse cough
Chronic medical problems that get worse
Fever above 102Â°F or a fever that lasts a long time
A cold that lasts for more than 10 days
Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Pain or pressure in the chest
Fainting or feeling like you are about to faint
Very bad pain in your face or forehead
Hoarseness, sore throat, or a cough that wonât go away
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What About Cedar Fever
Cedar fever is actually an allergy caused by the male Ashe juniper trying to seduce the female Ashe juniper tree by spreading pollen everywhere in December and January in Central Texas.
It can make you feel miserable, much like you have a virus, but the symptoms are different.
People with allergies typically have itchy or watery eyes, puffy eyes, itchy throat, sneezing, runny nose or congestion, and a sinus headache. Allergies can also worsen asthma symptoms.
Viruses like flu, RSV and COVID-19 don’t have the itchiness, though some people with COVID-19’s omicron variant did experience scratchy throats.
Unlike viruses, allergies typically do not produce a fever unless a sinus infection develops.
Leykum is also seeing a stomach bug with diarrhea.
Strep, which is also common this time of year, has not been in heavy rotation.
When To Go To The Doctor For The Flu
In most cases, the flu causes some discomfort for a few days but it ultimately resolves on its own within a week or so. But not always. For some, the flu can cause life-threatening, serious complications, as seen with older adults. The CDC estimates70% to 85% of flu-related deaths are among people aged 65 and older. Anyone with one or more of the following risk factors for flu complications should visit a healthcare provider to prevent severe illnesses or infections:
- Older than 65 years of age
- Younger than 5 years of age, especially less than 2 years of age
- Chronic medical conditions
- Compromised immune system
Otherwise, most people can weather the storm until symptoms end. Some symptoms do indicate a more dire situation and require medical care. According to Dr. Peters, anyone experiencing the following emergency symptoms should see a professional:
- Shortness of breath
- Abdomen or chest pain or pressure
- Persistent dizziness, confusion, or drowsiness
- Severe muscle pain
- Fever or cough that improve, then come back
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Lack of urination
People experiencing these symptoms, especially if theyre part of a high-risk population, should visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
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Earaches: Can Come From Colds Or Flu
Congestion from either ailment can make your ear pressure rise. This affects the eustachian tube, which connects your throat to your middle ear. It can cause a dull ear pain, hearing loss, and the sensation of âpoppingâ in your ears. It usually goes away with your other symptoms.
See your doctor if the earache lasts longer than your sickness or you feel sudden, strong pain. You may have an ear infection that needs treatment.
Colds: Otc Drugs Can Ease Symptoms
Drugstore medicines like decongestants, cough suppressants, and antihistamines can help congestion, coughing, and nasal symptoms. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can treat pain or a headache.
Read the active ingredients and warnings on all product labels. Many cough and cold medicines have the same ingredients, so you could accidentally overdose unless you’re careful. Don’t give aspirin to a child under 18. Using it to treat the flu has been linked to a condition called Reyeâs syndrome in kids.
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How Can I Tell If I Have A Cold Or The Flu
Colds and the flu cause many of the same symptoms. But colds are usually mild, while the flu tends to be more severe.
A cold often starts with feeling tired, sneezing, coughing, and having a runny nose. You may not have a fever, or you may run a low feverâjust 1 or 2 degrees higher than usual. You may have muscle aches, a scratchy or sore throat, watery eyes, and a headache.
The flu starts suddenly and hits hard. You will probably feel weak and tired and have a fever, dry cough, a runny nose, chills, muscle aches, a bad headache, eye pain, and a sore throat. It usually takes longer to get over the flu than a cold.
What Is The Difference Between A Cold And Flu
Influenza and the common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses only, whereas the common cold can be caused by a number of different viruses, including rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and seasonal coronaviruses. Seasonal coronaviruses should not be confused with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are typically more intense and begin more abruptly. Colds are usually milder than flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than people who have flu. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have serious associated complications.
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When To Visit Your Gp
If you are otherwise fit and healthy, there’s usually no need to visit your GP if you have flu-like symptoms.
You should just rest at home until you feel better, while keeping warm, drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers if necessary.
In these cases, your GP may suggest taking antiviral medication.
Some Vaccines Are Better Suited Than Others
Michael Clements, a GP and spokesperson for the Australia Medical Association Queensland, said there is a difference between the flu vaccines you pay for, and those that are free.
Dr Clements said the best vaccine is the free one offered by the Government to those who are eligible that is, people aged over 65, under the age of five, and those with chronic illnesses.
These vaccines are considered superior by doctors because they are specially purchased by the Government to meet the specific needs of those groups.
For example, those aged over 65 need a stronger vaccine compared to the rest of the population.
The vaccine for the rest of the population available from a GP, pharmacy, or offered by an employer can be provided by different brands through private contracts.
Dr Clements said, vaccines are considered inferior for over-65s, children and the chronically ill, they are completely fine for the fit and healthy population.
It’s important to note that all influenza vaccines administered in Australia are approved by the Therapeutical Goods Administration.
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Why Does Flu Start With Sore Throat
While its certainly an annoyance, a tickle at the back of your throat could be a sign that you may be coming down with the flu . A sore, scratchy throat signals that white blood cells and antibodies are rushing to the area to fight infection causing inflammation and irritation.
What is usually the first symptom of the flu?
Sudden, excessive fatigue is one of the earliest symptoms of the flu. It may appear before other symptoms. Fatigue is also a symptom of the common cold, but its usually more severe with the flu. Extreme weakness and tiredness may interfere with your normal activities.
What Are Other Ways To Treat And Prevent The Flu
Antiviral prescription medicines and an annual flu vaccine are available for treating and preventing the flu.
Prescription anti-flu medicines include amantadine , rimantadine , zanamivir and oseltamivir . These drugs do not cure the flu, but they can make the symptoms milder and make you feel better more quickly. They are only effective when used in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
These drugs are not needed for healthy people who get the flu. They are usually reserved for people who are very sick with the flu or those who are at risk of complications from the flu, such as people with long-term chronic medical conditions or older age.
Flu vaccine . Although there is currently no vaccine against the common cold, there is a vaccine to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works by exposing the immune system to the viruses. The body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The flu shot contains dead flu viruses. The nasal spray contains live, but weakened, flu viruses. The nasal spray is only approved for healthy children and adults two to 49 years old and who are not pregnant.
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What Do Eggs Have To Do With It
The questionnaire will also ask if you are allergic to eggs, among other things. That is because the flu vaccine may contain residual egg protein because it is grown in eggs.
In fact, all influenza vaccines available in Australia are prepared from purified inactivated influenza virus that has been cultivated in embryonated hens’ eggs.
The vaccine is grown in eggs because a virus cannot reproduce on its own, it has to infect a cell and take over that cell, and tell the generic material in that cell to make new viruses.
Emeritus Professor and Burnet Institute Visiting Fellow Greg Tannock, who sits on the Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee , said “about 90 per cent of influenza vaccines use, as starting materials, influenza viruses grown in the allantoic sac of 10 to 11-day-old fertile eggs.”
Other vaccines grown in eggs are:
- Pandemic inactivated influenza vaccine
- Yellow Fever vaccine
While it is relatively common in infants 8.9 per cent having a proven allergy to raw egg most kids outgrow it by the time they reach primary school, although it can sometimes persist into adult life.
Over the past few decades, the amount of egg protein used in the vaccine has been greatly reduced to less than just 1 microgram per dose.
Severe allergic responses are also very rare.
“They certainly do not constitute a reason for abandoning vaccination, because of the major public health consequences of influenza epidemics.