The symptoms of the flu or influenza typically include fever, chills, body aches, muscle pain, headache and fatigue. Other flu symptoms that may not be noticed initially are dry cough, runny nose, and sore throat. The fever is usually the first of the flu symptoms that a person notices and it may be very high, up to 106 degrees.
The symptoms of the flu are similar to other conditions such as the common cold, but bacterial infections and mononucleosis also have similar symptoms. Bacterial infections respond well to antibiotics, but antibiotics will not relieve flu symptoms or the symptoms of mononucleosis, which are caused by viruses. Some people still call their doctors asking for antibiotics when they have the symptoms of the flu, but doctors will usually deny this request, because it is believed that bacterial infections have become and are becoming more resistant to antibiotics, because they were over-prescribed and overused during the last several decades.
Recommendations for treating flu symptoms include extra rest, extra fluids and an over the counter fever and pain reducer. Over the counter products may be used to relieve nasal congestion, but antihistamines should be avoided as they are not intended to treat the symptoms of the flu and they may make nasal fluids thicker. In addition, teenagers and children should not be give aspirin or aspirin containing over the counter products to treat flu symptoms, because of the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, a serious illness.
Although the symptoms of the flu usually go away on their own in 7 to 10 days, in certain cases a doctor should be called immediately. A temperature of 100.4 or higher in a child three months or younger requires a doctor’s attention. A rectal temperature of 105 or higher in a child younger than four years requires immediate medical attention. An oral temperature of 104 or higher in anyone four years and older should be reported to a doctor. If breathing difficulties accompany flu symptoms then a doctor should be consulted. If stiff neck, confusion or difficulty wakening accompany symptoms of the flu, then a doctor should be consulted.
Flu symptoms in those who are at high risk for developing complications, such as persons over the age of 65 who have other health problems or persons of any age of have asthma or other long-term respiratory illness, should be reported to a health care professional. Doctors sometimes prescribe anti-viral medications as soon as the symptoms of the flu appear in these high-risk patients. The antiviral medications can reduce the severity of flu symptoms, shorten the length of the illness and reduce complications.
For more information about the flu, the common cold an for information about ways to help prevent these seasonal maladies, visit www.immune-system-booster-guide.com.