Uh-oh. Is it just your imagination or is that sudden cough or body ache a sign that you’re coming down with something? And if so, is just a cold or the dreaded influenza (flu) virus?
With all the news about how terrible a flu season can be, you can’t be too sure or too safe – not when early detection can make all the difference between keeping the flu bug at bay or spending weeks suffering from its effects.
Both the flu and the common cold are upper respiratory ailments, but they’re caused by separate viruses. While colds and the flu share some symptoms, such as coughs, sore throats, and a runny nose, cold symptoms are much milder. Unlike the common cold, which takes its time developing, the flu strikes swiftly and suddenly: left untreated, it can result in serious complications, such as pneumonia or bacterial infections requiring hospitalization.
To help assess your condition, here are some of the early telltale flu symptoms:
· High fever – A temperature of 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit is often the first sign of the flu. It may only last for a few days, but it’s a precursor of more unpleasant symptoms to come that can last for weeks.
· Excessive fatigue – Provided you haven’t overexerted yourself or lost sleep lately, feeling tired and physically exhausted is another red flag indicating the onset of the flu. This general feeling of weakness can last up to three weeks and make it difficult for you to get anything accomplished in the meantime.
· Body aches – These general aches and pains commonly include headaches and chills. Over-the-counter pain medication can relieve the aching, while a warm blanket can reduce the chills.
· A dry cough – Rather than coughing up phlegm or mucus as you would if you had a cold, you’re stuck with a hacking, dry cough when you have the flu. And eventually, that will lead to …
· Sore throat — Early on, your throat may feel itchy or prickly, and you may notice an odd sensation when you drink liquids or swallow food. You can count on the irritation to get worse before your throat starts to feel better.
· Vomiting and/or diarrhea – Certain strains of the flu – such as H1N1 – have been known to create significant gastrointestinal problems. If experience these symptoms, drink plenty of liquids to make sure you stay hydrated.
If you have any of these early flu-like symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor before your condition gets any worse. Better yet, get a flu shot before you are infected.
If you need urgent care, come see us at Patient Care Now Urgent Care in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. We are open 8 am to 8 pm, every day of the week – including Saturdays and Sundays! We pride ourselves in providing a seamless emergency medical care experience to our patients. Call us at (267) 202-6433 for all your urgent care needs, or use our online check-in form.