Signs and Symptoms of the Flu

sick womanYou start your day as normal, and as soon as you sit down at the office, you’re overwhelmed with fatigue, even though you’ve sleep for eight hours and just finished your morning coffee.  You also feel congested and your head is pounding.

What is the flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system – your nose, throat, and lungs.  For most people, the flu resolves on its own with at-home remedies, but some are at a higher risk of developing flu complications including:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults over 65
  • Resides of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • People with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease
  • People with weakened immune systems

What are the beginning stages of the flu?

Some signs and symptoms you may notice when you first come down with the flu include:

  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever over 101F
  • Chills and sweats

How long does it take to get over the flu?

A bout of the flu can usually last for one to two weeks, with your symptoms subsiding within two days.

How contagious is the flu?

The flu is highly contagious and it’s best to stay home to prevent spreading the illness to others.  Most healthy adults can be contagious within one day after symptoms developed and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than a week.

How do I know if it’s a cold or the flu?

The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses that have similar symptoms but are caused by different viruses.  Most cases of the flu are worse than a cold, with symptoms being more intense.  While a cold will normally have symptoms of a runny nose and a mild cough, the flu will give you heavy congestion, extreme fatigue, and body aches.

How can I protect myself against the flu?

Your best line of defense from contracting the flu is to get vaccinated.  AFC Urgent Care Methuen provides seasonal flu shots on a walk-in basis, so you don’t need an appointment to be seen.  Simply stop by our urgent care center when it’s most convenient for you, or save time and secure your spot by checking in online!  We look forward to helping you feel better, sooner!