In the United States, the peak flu season last from November to March, but you can get influenza any time of the year. Reports show that millions of people suffer from the flu every year and thousands of these people are hospitalized due to the illness. The best way to prevent hospitalization and the spread of the flu is to recognize the early flu symptoms, so you can start treating the condition as soon as possible.
Here is a look at the top early flu symptoms:
- Unusual Fatigue – A lot of people become more tired during the winter months, due to the colder weather and less daylight. This fact makes many people miss detecting this early flu symptom. This type of fatigue causes excess weakness and tiredness that is not normal, even for during the winter season.
- Body Aches – The flu oftentimes causes body and muscle aches. You get a sense that something just doesn’t feel right and even getting out of bed in the morning triggers aches throughout the body.
- Headache – Many people complain of having a persistent headache when they have the flu. If you have a headache that won’t go away, these could be an early detection sign of influenza.
- Fever – A fever also is an early sign of the flu. This can be anywhere from a low-grade fever to a high fever. Some people also experience chills along with their fever.
- Cough – A cough, tightness in the chest and wheezing can all be early signs of the flu.
- Sore Throat – A persistent cough can led to a sore throat in just a matter of days. Unfortunately, this also can be a sign of other illness, such as strep throat.
- Stuffy or Runny Nose – A person with the flu typically has either a stuffy or running nose that runs in conjunction with their other flu symptoms.
If you have one or more early signs of the flu, you should start treating your illness as soon as possible. Be sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and maintain a healthy diet. You also can take ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for body aches, joint pain, headaches and fever, as well as cough medicine for your cough and/or sore throat.
In addition, be sure to limit direct contact with other people, stay home from work if possible, wash your hands regularly, and cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. These steps will help to reduce the spread of the flu to others. If your symptoms worsen over time, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your primary care physician will be able to diagnose the flu and provide you with addition medication if necessary.