At some point in your life, you’ll most likely experience the flu and all of the flu symptoms that go with it. On top of the common flu symptoms you may experience, you can also experience emergency flu symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
We’re going to touch on what the flu is in this post, but
the bulk of the article will go to the various flu symptoms because we want you
to know exactly what you want to watch for if you believe you have it. We’ll
also give you an easy way to see a doctor if you have the flu at the end of
this post, so stick around!
The flu is short for Influenza. It’s a highly contagious respiratory sickness that can infect your throat, nose, and your lungs in more severe cases. You can experience very mild or very severe symptoms, and it can even lead to death in certain instances. Additionally, the very young, old, and immune system compromised individuals are more vulnerable to getting it and deteriorating more quickly than a healthy individual.
The flu spreads by tiny droplets that you release into the air when you sneeze or cough. The droplets can travel and land in other people’s noses or mouths, and it’ll start to spread throughout their respiratory system. You’re most contagious in the first 72 to 96 hours, and you can infect people for up to a week after you start to feel sick.
Additionally, the flu virus can live on the surfaces in your
home for up to a week, and this makes it very easy to accidentally reinfect
yourself or infect someone in your family. But, there are several common signs
and symptoms that you can watch for that allow you to effectively treat it and
prevent it from spreading to other people.
If you’ve never had the flu or been around someone who’s had the flu, it can be difficult to realize the common flu symptoms. Again, they can range in severity from very mild to severe, and you may not experience all of them. These common flu symptoms also tend to come on very quickly, usually in the span of 24 hours or less, and they can get severe very quickly as well.
- Chest Discomfort –You tend to have a lot of congestion and coughing when you have the flu, and this can lead to chest discomfort. You may notice things like a mild ache every time you cough, and it can get severe as your flu symptoms worsen over the course of a few days.
- Cough – Since this is an illness that directly impacts the body’s respiratory system, having a constant cough is very common. You may end up with a very dry cough, a wet cough, or you may experience a tickling sensation in the back of your throat that causes you to cough for extended periods.
- Diarrhea – Diarrhea is watery or loose stools. If you have loose stools and bowel movements more than three times in a single day, you have diarrhea. It can be a sudden onset where you have to go as soon as you get the urge, and both the flu and the antibiotics you use to treat it can cause it.
- Dehydration –Most people don’t like to drink or eat anything when they’re sick because they’re afraid of throwing it up. Dehydration is common when you don’t get enough fluid to support your systems.
- Fatigue– Feeling drained or tired is fatigue. This is a very common flu symptom because your body is working overtime to try and fight off the flu. It can last many days after your initial flu symptoms end as your body starts to recover from the illness.
- Fever and Chills – Not everyone who has the flu has a fever, but it’s common. A fever is your body’s way of raising your internal temperature to try and kill off the virus. Anything over 98.6°F is a fever. It can range from a low-grade one that’s just over your normal temperature, or it can climb.
- Headaches– The flu causes congestion, and congestion can cause issues with your sinuses. When this happens, you can experience a range of headaches that can be either mild or more severe. Also, you can experience them all around your head, and not just in the front.
- Muscle or Body Aches – One of the most common flu symptoms people comment on is just feeling achy all over. Muscle and body aches are a result of your body releasing chemicals to fight off the flu. They’re a good sign, even if they don’t feel like it.
- Nausea – Nausea is usually a warning sign that you’re about to vomit. It may come with your mouth watering, your stomach may cramp, or you may feel general discomfort. This is the feeling that makes many people hesitant to eat or drink when they have the flu.
- Runny or Stuffy Nose – Again, the flu attacks your respiratory tract, and you may have a lot of congestion or a nose that just won’t stop running. Inflammation in your nasal passages can cause the congested feeling if you don’t have a runny nose to go with it.
- Sore Throat – Inflammation in your throat can cause it to be more sensitive and sore. This can get worse as the flu progresses and the inflammation gets worse. You may also develop small pus bags if it gets bad enough.
- Vomiting– When you get sick, your body tries to expel anything that may feed or cause your illness. This can result in vomiting that can last for days, and it’s a forceful discharge of anything you’ve eaten or drunk. You can experience it once or every time you try to eat or drink something when you’re sick.
Now that you know about the common flu symptoms that both adults and children can experience when they have the flu, we’ll talk about children-specific emergency flu symptoms. They usually result after a few days of the common flu symptoms. They include by are not limited to:
- Blueish tinge to the face or lips
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Dehydration (dry mouth, no tears when they cry, and no urine for eight hours)
- Fast breathing or difficulty breathing
- Fever above 104°F
- Fever or cough that gets better and then worse again
- Fever in any form in children under 12 weeks
- Not interacting or alert when they’re awake
- Ribs pulling inward when they try to breathe
- Severe muscle pain (refusal to walk)
- Worsening of any chronic medical conditions they may have
Adult emergency flu symptoms are typically easier to diagnose because an adult is more apt to tell you if something is wrong. Just like children’s flu symptoms, these emergency flu symptoms usually occur a few days after they experience the common flu symptoms. They include:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing or severe shortness of breath
- Fever or cough that improves but gets worse again
- Not urinating (dehydration)
- Persistent confusion, dizziness, or an inability to arouse the person
- Persistent pressure in the chest or chest pain
- Severe muscle pain and weakness
- Severe unsteadiness when they attempt to walk
- Worsening of any chronic medical conditions
When you don’t feel good, and you’re experiencing a variety of flu symptoms, the last thing you want to do is go to the doctor. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the length of time that you’ve had them, you may not be able to get up and go to the doctor, and this is where Medek is unique.
We’re specially designed to help meet the needs of patients who are unable or struggle to get to a traditional doctor for an in-office visit. We have a team of qualified doctors on-hand that are ready to take virtual appointments straight from your phone.
Additionally, we make it extremely simple for our patients to see a provider. All you do is enter the symptoms you have into our app, and we’ll connect you with one of our providers. We’ll be able to discuss your symptoms and send the correct treatment prescription to the pharmacy of your choice.
We offer prescriptions, urgent care, and consultations all in 30 minutes or less, and this is excellent for people who have the flu and just want to stay home, sleep, and feel better. Over 90% of all of the patients who use Medek have an improvement in their illnesses that doesn’t require a second visit! We’ll work to get you feeling better fast!
If you have flu symptoms that just aren’t getting any better and you’d like to talk to a certified and knowledgeable medical provider, get in touch. You can sign up, download the app, and be well on your way to feeling better quickly and easily all from the comfort of your own home! We’re just a few clicks away, and we’re waiting to hear from you.