The flu is an infectious viral illness that is spread from one person to another through sneezing or coughing. The infection can be intense and unpleasant but only last for a week or two at most. The flu can attack you at any moment within the year, but it tends to be common during winter since it a very cold season. Most people tend to confuse the flu with the common cold, but they are different. Different viruses cause them, and the symptoms of the flu tend to be sudden, intense, severe, and long-lasting compared to those for a common cold.
Symptoms of the flu
Every person experiences symptoms differently. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms experienced by people with this infection;
- Dry chesty cough
- Sore throat
- Fever, high temperatures about thirty-eight degrees Celsius (38c/ 100.4F) and above.
- Body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Diarrhea and vomiting in some instances.
The flu and fever
Fever is a common indicator of flu, but there are some instances where you may catch the flu with no signs of fever. When you experience a fever from the flu, it would be around 99.86 Fahrenheit. Fever occurs in your body when a part of your brain known as the hypothalamus or body’s thermostat shifts your body temperatures from normal to elevated levels. These results to you feeling chilled hence end up wearing lots of clothes or wrapping yourself up with blankets which eventually leads to elevated body temperature.
You cannot, therefore, assume that since you do not have a fever you are not infected with the virus. The same way you cannot conclude that because you have the fever, you are infected with the flu as many other causes may cause fever. Some of them include;
- Bacterial infection
- Viral infections other than that of the flu
- Extreme sunburn
- A malignant tumor
- Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Heat exhaustion
- Special cases of immunization like diphtheria or tetanus
- Medications like those used to treat high blood pressure
Other normal factors like exercise and menstrual cycle for women may cause elevated body temperatures.
Complications arising from the Influenza infection
Most people get better from this infection within two weeks; however, others will develop complications. The complications include viral infection of the nasal passage, throat and the lungs, sinus and ear infections. Those that may succumb to these severe infections may include young children, expectant mothers and the senior from the age of sixty-five and older. Other than the three categories, people with chronic medical conditions like chronic lung disease suffer a high risk of getting pneumonia. Some of these conditions may result in hospitalization and a few cases resulting in death.
Flu treatment depends on the signs and symptoms you are showing. Decongestion is one of the ways used to treat the flu. This is a method used for to reduce any swelling along the nasal passageways. Decongestants come in nasal sprays or oral forms. The nasal spray decongestants should not, however, be used more than a few times because if used for long can cause rebound symptoms if one try to stop using them. An antihistamine may be used to treat watery eyes, running nose and postnasal drip.
The flu with or without fever may be very uncomfortable for you, therefore, the need to prevent it before you get infected. You can do this by taking the flu shot and building you immunity through exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and keeping warm throughout the cold season.