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Home Symptoms of Flu Common Flu symptoms: Fever

Common Flu symptoms: Fever

The flu is caused by a virus with many different types. Just as there are green apples and red apples, there are different strains of the flu. Some of the more troubling types recently have been the avian flu, swine flu, and the most recent H1N1 flu pandemic. These are all related to the seasonal flu, but they strike different populations, some affecting pigs or birds, while others infect humans. Among all of these types of flu, one of the shared flu symptoms is fever.

Unlike another virus often seen in the flu season, the common cold, all forms of human flu produce a fever. Among flu symptoms, fever is most quickly felt and the largest tell-tale sign that an infection is being experienced. Sometimes a cold will lead to a mild fever, but this is rarely above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. With the flu, the fever is typically over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and often above 102 degrees F.

There are several ways to measure body temperature to determine if a fever is present. Using an oral thermometer or an ear thermometer will give the most accurate readings. These measure internal body temperature by being inserted under the tongue or in the ear, respectively. Their accuracy and ease of use are the reasons these methods are preferred by physicians. Other means to take temperature include external readings such as a forehead thermometer and axillary (armpit) thermometer. The readings from these will be one whole degree below the internal temperature, so a reading from the armpit of 99 degrees should be considered the same as an internal temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Often used with infants, a rectal thermometer has a reading one degree Fahrenheit above the actual temperature of the body. Normal reading from a rectal thermometer will be 99.6 degrees. This is the same as an oral reading of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Should flu symptoms: fever, body aches, chills, headache and fatigue be felt, the patient needs to go to a doctor for testing to determine the cause. A blood test will likely be done by the doctor to decide if the patient has seasonal flu, swine flu, or a more serious viral infection such as pneumonia. Antiviral medications might be given if the patient has the flu and is at risk for complications. Groups most likely to get these medicines include: pregnant women, very young children, those with chronic health conditions and the elderly. These medicines can lessen the duration and severity of the flu symptoms: fever, headache and fatigue, but they must be given within 48 hours of developing symptoms.

The most easily seen of flu symptoms, fever will be high in those with flu and low or non-existent with colds. To be certain, any fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit needs to be evaluated by a physician.

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