While the start of 2018 has motivated many to start their New Year’s Resolutions, some may find their plans interrupted by the onslaught of the flu virus. The flu outbreak is going into its eleventh week and is still going strong with all U.S. states besides Hawaii and Oregon reporting widespread flu activity and flu-like illnesses. This particular strain of the virus has proven to be quite formidable, although a common mistake is confusing the common cold and the flu. Although both are respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms, there are a few slight differences that may indicate what you have. However, you should always consult with your physician to determine your diagnosis.
The common cold is not considered as troublesome as the flu since it can usually be remedied with self-care and medication. The flu, also known as the influenza virus, has a higher chance of inviting severe symptoms in people with certain conditions and should be treated immediately. People that are at higher risk for developing flu-related complications according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is primarily children younger than 5, especially children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. However, you can be more suspectable to the flu if you suffer from other medical conditions such as asthma, blood disorders, liver disorders or weakened immune systems as a result of HIV or cancer.
While you can typically get over a cold within a few days, flu symptoms can last from anywhere from a few days to two weeks, some of which can further develop into pneumonia which can become fatal if left untreated. Influenza symptoms tend to settle in quickly while a common cold comes on gradually, usually resulting in someone saying something along the lines of “I think I feel a cold coming on.” before they actually become sick. To better prepare yourself and your loved ones for the flu season, familiarize yourself with the top 5 symptoms of the flu. In the event that you think you may have contracted the influenza virus, consult with your physician.
For those who are not experiencing any symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every season.
So, what is a fever? A fever is a rise in overall body temperature*. Typically anything above the normal of 98.6°F may be the start of a fever, but it does not become a significantly high fever until it is above 100.4°F. A good device to have on hand is an infrared, non-contact thermometer, such as one of the 3 Accumed Non-Contact Thermometer models available on Amazon. The non-contact thermometer eliminates the risk of further spreading the flu by limiting physical contact with someone who may have contracted the virus.
*Not everyone that has contracted the flu will experience a fever.
2. A cough and/or a sore Throat
Another common symptom of the cold and the flu is a cough and a sore throat. For the flu virus, coughing is more likely to occur than a sore throat (which is more predominant in the common cold). Due to the coughing that may come with the flu virus, chest discomfort can also be common and can become severe if not treated.
A large indicator of the flu would be to experience fatigue which can interrupt your daily routine.
4. Chills and Body Aches
You may also experience moments where you fill unusually cold or your body aches even though you have not done any sort of extraneous activity.
5. Flu Complications
Due to the flu being a respiratory virus, some people may experience further complications outside of the symptoms typically associated with the flu virus.
These are just a few symptoms commonly associated with the flu virus. The flu can easily cause pneumonia, bronchitis and other complications especially if it goes untreated. We recommend consulting with your physician should you or a family member develop any of these – or any other – flu-related symptoms.