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Home Symptoms of Flu Could I have the flu?

Could I have the flu?

It happens every year. Most often appearing in the early fall and lasting through the spring, the flu season can sicken and kill thousands of Americans annually. This common flu is not the same as the current H1N1 flu pandemic. Both can be dangerous to groups of people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and both the very old and very young.

What are the basic flu symptoms?

Several virus types cause the flu, resulting in many levels of severity of symptoms. Whether mild or severe, flu symptoms can include: fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough and stuffy nose or runny nose.

Are there any serious flu symptoms?

Anyone suffering from the flu should keep a vigilant watch for signs of complications developing. Those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to secondary infections after a bout of the flu. After being treated for the flu with antiviral medications, if the flu symptoms get better but then return, especially if they are worse than before, a complication should be suspected. Medical attention is needed immediately to prevent the complications from leading to one of the thousands of flu deaths per year.

One of the most common complications is bacterial pneumonia which shows as a high fever, deep chest cough with thick green mucus, shivering and chest pain.

What are specific H1N1 (swine) flu symptoms?

The swine flu does not have any specific symptoms of its own. Without a blood test, it is impossible for a person with the flu to know if he has the swine (H1N1) flu or the seasonal flu. Symptoms are the same for both, but some people with swine flu have had nausea, vomiting and or diarrhea whereas these are rare seasonal flu symptoms. Determining the type of flu is only one of the many reasons for one with flu symptoms to visit the doctor as soon as first signs of the flu are felt.

How can I treat flu symptoms?

A visit to the doctor within two days of first feeling flu symptoms will allow the patient to begin taking antiviral medications. These can shorten the duration of the flu, but the person will still be contagious. These medicines are given to those who have either the H1N1 (swine) flu or the seasonal flu. Antibiotic medicines are not effective against the flu because all types of flu are caused by viruses, and antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections.

Aside from a doctor's prescription for antiviral medication, home care can help. Bed rest, fluids, and remaining isolated will help the person to regain his strength and prevent him from spreading the flu to others in the house. Fever reducing medicines can also help to keep the fever down, but any over the counter medicine should only be taken on a doctor's recommendation.


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