Flu – Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms of the flu often appear suddenly and may include the following:

  • Fever of 100°F or higher
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea        (these are more common in children)

For most people, treatment for the flu is supportive and includes rest, staying hydrated and using over the counter fever-reducing medications. Patients with flu-like symptoms should stay home, avoiding contact with other people to prevent the spread of infection.
High risk patients and those with severe symptoms should see a medical professional as early as possible in the course of their illness to discuss possible treatment with anti-viral medications. Sometimes a flu infection can progress into a bacterial infection and antibiotics are needed. Inhalers and steroids can be used to treat airway narrowing which may occur in more complicated cases of influenza.
Patients at high risk for more severe flu infections include:

  • Children less than 2 years of age
  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Patients of any age who are immunosuppressed
  • Women who are pregnant or postpartum.
  • Patients with chronic lung (including asthma), heart, kidney, liver, blood, endocrine, or neurologic disorders
  • Residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities
  • Patients with intellectual disabilities or developmental delay
  • Morbidly obese adults (Body Mass Index > 40)
  • Native Americans and Alaskan Natives

Remember, being proactive and getting an annual flu immunization can protect you from developing this uncomfortable, potentially serious infection.

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