Flu Guru

...your single source for flu news and information

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I have the flu, now what?

What is the difference in the duration of symptoms of the flu and swine flu?

When infected with a virus, the illness remains dormant in the body for one to three days, but after this short incubation period, symptoms appear suddenly. How long does the flu last depends upon the treatment taken and whether or not any complications arise. The best way to shorten the duration of flu symptoms is to promptly go to the doctor within two days of feeling any flu symptoms.

What are flu symptoms?

The symptoms of seasonal flu and swine flu symptoms are the same. There is only one certain means to differentiate the two: a laboratory test ordered by a physician. Shared symptoms of swine flu (also known as H1N1 flu) and the seasonal flu include: high fever, chills, body aches, cough, and runny or stuffy nose. Some patients with the swine flu might also have vomiting and diarrhea, but these are rare symptoms most often seen in children who have been infected with the H1N1.

What kinds of treatment are available for the flu? Do they work for the swine flu, too?

If a doctor diagnoses the flu within forty-eight hours of the start of symptoms, he can prescribe an antiviral medication. This drug will help the body to fight off the flu virus, whether it is the seasonal flu or the swine flu.

For some patients who refuse to go to the doctor until they have been ill for four or five days, the antiviral medications will not work, and a doctor will likely refuse to prescribe them. This is because the antivirals reduce the amount of time the symptoms are present from five to seven days down to three to five. After the first two days, any reduction in the duration of symptoms will prove useless.

How long does the flu last with complications?

Those most at risk for complications from the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu are people who have chronic medical conditions. The very young and pregnant women are also at greater risk for developing life-threatening complications.

One of the most common complications in high risk people is pneumonia. This can quickly turn deadly for those with chronic medical conditions. The best way to prevent this from occurring is to get prompt treatment with a course of antivirals. Antibiotics will have no effect on any type of the flu virus. How long does the flu last with complications will depend upon the resulting complications. This can last for weeks to months. Some patients might need hospitalization with these secondary infections where they can be better treated directly by medical professionals.

How long does the flu last?

Should there be no other complications, most people can expect to feel symptoms for five to seven days depending upon whether or not they are given antiviral medication. Should another infection appear, the length of time the person will feel sick will depend upon how quickly the secondary infection is cured.



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