The flu is a respiratory ailment caused by the influenza viruses A and B. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, illness from the flu can be mild to severe, and in some cases it can be fatal. Persons at a higher risk for the flu are children under 5, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with certain health conditions, which include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, HIV or AIDS. Fly symptoms vary from person to person, and many of the symptoms mimic those of other medical conditions. Below are 16 signs that you may have the flu.
Most bacteria and viruses that cause infection in humans can thrive well in the normal body temperature of 98.6°F. When an infection attacks the body, the body responds by increasing its temperature, thus the onset of a fever. An adult has a fever occurs when his body temperature rises above 99-99.5°F . A child has a fever when his body temperature rises above 99.5°F (oral measurement), 100.4°F (rectal measurement) or 99°F (measured under the arm). Fever is a common flu symptom, but it’s also a sign of other health conditions, such as appendicitis, pneumonia or ear and sinus infections. Also, according to the CDC, not everyone who gets the flu has a fever. However, high fever is more common with the flu than with the common cold.
A cough is the body’s natural response to the presence of irritants in your airways and throat. Occasional coughing is normal, but persistent coughing that lasts longer than a week and/or produces discolored or bloody phlegm is sign of a potentially more serious medical condition. Cough associated with the flu is typically a dry, hacking and/or non-productive cough.
A sore throat is an irritation, pain or scratchiness or pain in your throat that feels worse when you swallow. It’s a common symptom of the flu, as well as a cold. It also a common symptom of other medical conditions such as strep throat, allergies, measles, croup (in children) or mononucleosis. If you have a sore throat accompanied by a fever higher than 101°F, you need to see your doctor immediately.
Chills are caused by rapid muscle contraction and relaxation, and they are your body’s way of producing heat when it feels cold. Chills typically occur at the onset of an infection in the body and is usually accompanied with fever. While they are a common flu symptom, chills are a sign of other ailments such as bacterial gastroenteritis, meningitis and urinary tract infection.
A headache is exactly as it is named–an ache or pain in any part of the head. Headaches fall under two categories: primary and secondary. Primary headaches are usually not a symptom of an underlying disease. Migraine, cluster, tension and chronic daily headaches are examples of primary headaches.
Secondary headaches are usually a sign of health conditions. Headaches that accompany the flu are secondary headaches. Flu headaches differ from sinus headaches you get from nasal congestion caused by a cold. Sinus headaches cause pressure and pain in one area of the head, and they usually begin in the morning and go away by the afternoon. Flu headaches don’t go away that quickly, and they can cause pain in any region of the head.
Body aches can have a wide variety of causes, be it from over-exercising, a fall or ill-planned physical move that results in a pulled or sprained muscle, or a medical condition like fibromyalgia, which causes muscle pain. Body aches associated with the flu commonly occur in the arms, back and legs, but they can occur anywhere or all over the body and are typically more severe than those associated with a cold.
A runny nose is a common flu symptom, but is also associated with other conditions such a cold, sinus infections or allergies. A runny nose associated with a flu may be accompanied by sneezing and nasal congestion.
A stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, occurs when the nasal tissues and blood vessels in the nasal passages become swollen with too much fluid, causing a stuffy or plugged-up feeling. Breathing from the affected nostril(s) becomes difficult without the use of nasal decongestants to open up the sinuses. A stuffy nose is a symptom of the flu, but it also a common cold symptom as well.