How To Tell If You Have The Flu

Close up of man with flu
© Gabriel Blaj | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The flu (influenza) is a contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract.  The flu is caused by an influenza virus and the symptoms can be mild to severe. Symptoms typically commence two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week, although the cough may last for more than two weeks. Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to the flu can happen at any age.

6. Difficulty Breathing
It is a respiratory illness with symptoms such as coughing, stuffy nose, and congestion. Shortness of breath and wheezing are not typical of the flu. Difficulty breathing may be the result of complications associated with the flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

5. Pain In The Chest Or Stomach
Another warning sign is pain in your stomach or chest. Sharp pains or pressure-induced pains indicate your flu may have worsened. If there is a feeling of a heavy weight or pressure on your chest, have the condition checked out.

Pain in the chest or stomach is not normal and should not be part of the flu. Abdomen and chest pains may also indicate any pre-existing conditions you may have, such as asthma or cardiovascular disease, might be negatively affected.

4. Vomiting Episodes
Vomiting is not usually associated with the typical flu. It is possible to vomit while you have the flu, but not very much. If vomiting episodes are frequent and persistent, you need to go to the doctor. This may mean there is a complication or you are dealing with more than the flu. Vomiting is exhausting and contributes to dehydration.

3. Confusion
Not sure what day it is or what time it is? Do you understand what people are saying? Other than the grogginess associated with sleeping during the illness, you should not experience any confusion. If you are experiencing confusion, you may be dehydrated or hypoglycemic. This is not only indicative of complications, but it also is dangerous. Confusion impedes the ability to listen to one’s body and respond accordingly.

2. Sudden Dizziness
Dizziness is a symptom sometimes associated with the flu. It is typically related to getting up too quickly after lying down. This may be a side effect of dehydration, but there could be underlying issues. When it comes to the flu, dizziness is not as common as fever, aches, chills, fatigue, cough, and headaches.

1. Symptoms Return With A Fever
You had the flu for 3 to 4 days and begin to feel better – then it comes back with a vengeance. If the symptoms return with a fever, it is time to go see your doctor. Your body just underwent a strenuous experience and has not had time to recover in advance of another bout of the flu, therefore, it is almost sure to be worse.

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