Years ago, if you noticed early flu symptoms, the best you could do was get some rest. These days, however, there are anti-viral medications that can significantly improve recovery. The catch? They have to be administered early in the infection process. Here’s how you can identify a flu infection fast.
What to Watch for
Detecting early symptoms of the flu can help you avoid spreading the virus and possibly help you get treatment before it gets worse. Some of the earliest flu symptoms include:
• Sudden or excessive fatigue: This can also be a sign of the common cold; however, the severity can signal a more serious infection. Watch for weakness and tiredness that comes on suddenly and interferes with your normal activities.
• Body aches and chills: If you’re starting to come down with the flu virus, you may blame body aches on a recent workout. If you notice aches in the back, legs and head, take notice. If these are accompanied with chills, there’s a good chance you’re getting sick.
• Cough: A persistent cough is a big sign that the influenza virus is spreading throughout your body. You should be especially concerned if your cough is paired with other early flu symptoms.
• Sore throat: While a sore throat can be caused by any number of things, if it manifests alongside other troublesome symptoms, you could have the flu.
• Fever: Although fever is the common symptom in early stages of the flu, not everyone experiences it. If you do notice a fever, drink plenty of fluids and watch closely for other flu symptoms.
Most people only need bed rest to recover from the flu. On the other hand, if you have asthma or some other type of medical condition that puts you at a high risk for complications, it’s a good idea to seek treatment. While they can’t cure the flu, anti-viral medications can speed recovery. They are most effective, however, when treatment is started within two days after the onset of illness.
Right now, there are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs: Tamiflu®, Relenza® and Rapivab®. That said, the best way to avoid unpleasant symptoms is by getting a seasonal influenza vaccine before flu season heats up.