When you wake up with a scratchy throat, cough and overall body aches, you may have someone tell you that you have the flu. This often misunderstood illness can make you feel very sick, and the team at Aayu Clinics – Lakeview Immediate Care wants you to know what to do if you fall victim to this common illness.
What Is the Flu?
The flu is the common name for an illness caused by the influenza virus. It causes the sick individual to feel miserable, with cold symptoms, congestion, a sore throat, body aches, fever and chills. The flu is not a gastrointestinal illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, though the term is commonly used for both sicknesses.
For most people, the flu is a relatively mild, though uncomfortable, illness. Here’s what you need to know about the flu, flu treatments and what to do if you have the illness.
What Are the Most Common Flu Symptoms?
Signs of the flu include the following:
- Nasal and chest congestion
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Sore throat
While most people who have the flu have these symptoms, it is possible to have the flu without all of them, including without a fever.
Do I Have the Flu?
If you have flu symptoms, you should see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Only a doctor can diagnose the flu using a nasal swab to test for the virus.
How Long Does the Flu Last?
For most people, the flu lasts from five to seven days. Those who have had a flu vaccine or who receive anti-viral medications may have a shorter duration. Some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) that can cause symptoms to last longer. Sick individuals should stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever breaks. Some of the symptoms, including cough and nasal congestion, can linger for several weeks.
What to Do if You Have the Flu
If you have the flu, it’s wise to see a doctor. While the flu is a virus (and therefore it won’t respond to antibiotics), you need to ensure that it is not progressing into pneumonia. Also, some patients may qualify for anti-viral drugs that can help shorten the duration of the illness or minimize its symptoms, and these drugs need to be delivered within 48 hours of the first symptoms in order to be effective, so prompt medical attention is important. Unfortunately, there is no flu medicine that can completely cure this common illness. Even with anti-viral drugs, you will need to rest and stay home for several days as your immune system takes care of the virus.
However, for most people the flu is not an emergency. A visit to immediate care is the best choice to get fast, accurate care.
In addition to the anti-viral medications, the best flu treatment is home care. If you have the flu, make sure you:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink ample fluids
- Stay home to avoid sharing germs
- Use pain and fever reducers for symptoms
If you suspect that you have the flu, Aayu Clinics – Lakeview Immediate Care is here to help. We accept walk-in appointments, so you can be seen the same day you start feeling sick. If you prefer, call 773-227-3669 to make an appointment. We are open every day, including all major holidays, and can help you get the right treatment for your illness. You can also come to us for a flu shot, before getting sick to help prevent the likelihood of falling victim to the flu.
The flu is miserable. Aayu Clinics – Lakeview Immediate Care is here to help. Stop in today.