Don’t let the flu get you down

What are common flu symptoms?

A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to two weeks. The flu can also result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalisation. Those most at risk are the very young and elderly. If you are generally fit and healthy, you can manage your symptoms at home. You can usually treat the flu without seeing your GP and should begin to feel better in about a week.

The difference between cold and flu

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include:

Cough - A cough can also be a symptom of a cold or the flu. Individuals may also suffer from a mucous, chest, dry or tickly cough

Cough: A cough can also be a symptom of a cold or the flu. Individuals may also suffer from a mucous, chest, dry or tickly cough

Runny nose is a symptom of cough

Blocked nose: A blocked nose is caused when the membranes lining the nose become swollen as a result of inflamed blood vessels.

Headaches - It is common to have headaches when someone comes down with the flu, largely because of a high temperature and dehydration.

Headaches: It is common to have headaches when someone comes down with the flu, largely because of a high temperature and dehydration.

Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection - you may also have swollen glands in your neck, discomfort when swallowing and tonsillitis.

Sore throat: These are usually caused by bacterial or viral infections and can be among the first signs of coming down with a cold or flu

Glandular fever – You may also feel very tired and have a fever and swollen glands in your neck.

Fever: A fever is a common symptom of the flu and if the body temperature is above 100.4 F (38C) individuals are advised to take steps to bring it down.

General aches and pains are a symptom of cough

Bodily aches and pains: One of the sure signs that someone is suffering from the flu rather than a cold is the general onset of aches and pains.

Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. A common complication of the flu is pneumonia, particularly in the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems. If you notice shortness of breath, referral should be made to the doctor. Another common sign of pneumonia is fever that comes back after having been gone for a day or two.

How is flu spread, and am I contagious?

Just like cold viruses, flu viruses enter the body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes or mouth. When people touch a surface, or a person, that’s contaminated with flu germs and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they infect themselves with the flu virus. So, it is very important to keep hands germ-free with frequent washing to prevent both cold & flu symptoms.

Treatment for flu

The first thing you should do when experiencing symptoms is ask your pharmacist for advice on over-the-counter medicines that will help you get back to being you. If treating the flu in children it’s vital you consult your local pharmacist or GP.

When to go to your GP?

Chesty ‘Wet’ Cough comes from the chest is often triggered by excessive mucus.

Your symptoms don’t improve after 7 days.

You’re worried about your baby’s or child’s symptoms.

You’re 65 or over.

You’re pregnant.

You have a long-term medical condition – for example, a heart, lung, kidney or neurological disease.

Have a weak immune system – for example, if you have diabetes or you’re having chemotherapy.

Other things you should do to get better quicker and back to yourself

Get lots of rest

Drink plenty of
water

Keep warm

Avoid cigarette
smoke

Try steam
inhalation

Try ice or honey
and lemon for a sore throat

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