Influenza or flu is a viral infection that affects millions of individuals every year. The condition is highly transmissible and easily spreads by droplets that are inhaled or coughed into the surroundings. While some people refer to upper respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and sore throat as the flu, the symptoms of flu are actually more severe in nature and can last up to a week or more.
Individuals who have flu experience generalized achiness especially in the arms, back and lower legs. Headache is prevalent and can be accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and photophobia. Additionally, overwhelming exhaustion is also one of the indicative signs of flu that occurs during the early stage of the disease. The weakness also occurs and can last up to 2 weeks after recovery.
Fever and chills
One of the initial indications of flu is fever that starts abruptly and lasts for 3-4 days. The fever is usually higher than 101 degrees F and can be as high as 103-105 degrees F especially among children. Take note that fever and chills can occur abruptly and can lead to dehydration especially if the intake of fluids is reduced due to lack of appetite. The chills can be followed by an increase in the temperature then a drop in the temperature that is accompanied by excessive sweating and a feeling exhaustion. If you will enroll in a first aid course, you can properly manage fever.
Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can occur among those who are suffering from flu. Take note that these symptoms are quite common among infants and young children. The loss of appetite is common in both children and adults.
Lower respiratory symptoms
The lower respiratory symptoms of flu include cough that is dry at first but becomes productive as the disease progresses along with chest discomfort. The chest pain and shortness of breath can occur if flu is aggravated by bacterial or viral pneumonia that are usual complications of the disease.
Treatments for the flu symptoms
The treatment will depend on the symptoms of the individual. If nasal congestion is present, a decongestant is useful. Decongestants are available in nasal spray or oral forms. These medications work by reducing the swelling in the nasal passageways. Just remember that decongestants should not be used too long since they can cause rebound symptoms.
If the individual has postnasal drip, runny nose or watery eyes, an antihistamine is useful. Antihistamines work by blocking the effect of histamine as well as relieving other symptoms such as itchiness, sneezing and nasal discharge.
Just remember that both antihistamines and decongestants can interact with other medications that are currently taken by the individual and can aggravate some conditions. A doctor should be consulted regarding the suitable flu treatment.