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Symptoms, causes, and treatments for Flu

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Influenza (Flu)

Symptoms of the Flu

Flu, unlike the common cold, is caused by the influenza virus. What doctors call influenza affects your respiratory system, and isn’t the same illness known as stomach flu.

Symptoms associated with influenza include:

  • Cough
  • Fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Flushing
  • Full-body weakness or fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Sinus congestion or pressure
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating

The difference between colds and the flu is measured in speed and severity: the flu virus hits you faster, and makes you feel sicker, than the common cold.

Causes of the Flu

The most common way to get the flu is by coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids -- they cough or sneeze and you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other ways to infect yourself include shaking hands with someone who coughed into their hands then didn’t wash them, or inhaling traces of the virus from the air. Like colds, flu viruses can live on doorknobs, phones, kids’ toys, and other household or office objects for up to eight hours.

Unlike colds, there’s a vaccine for influenza. Each year the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) selects a new strain of flu to be manufactured and distributed. While it’s possible your flu shot won’t protect you against an unforeseen strain of flu virus, the yearly vaccine guards against the highest probable strain expected to infect the general population. Yearly shots are one of the best defenses against the flu.

ZOOM+Care offers flu shots every season. Schedule an on-demand visit, get your shot within 15 minutes, and be on your way.

Should I Be Worried?

Adults and kids with the flu may be OK at home with plenty of rest, fluids, and non-prescription medications. However, the flu can be a serious, life-threatening illness. The following individuals are at a higher risk of developing complications from flu:

  • Adults aged 65 or older
  • Children under the age of five
  • Pregnant women, and mothers up to two weeks after delivery
  • Those with chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and other illnesses

Complications from flu include bronchitis, ear infections, heart problems, and pneumonia.

Even if you aren’t at higher risk for complications from flu, you’ll want to see a doctor immediately if the following symptoms persist:

  • Can’t keep food or fluids down
  • Fever above 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fever for five or more days
  • Lasting cough for up to three weeks
  • Persistent headache or congestion
  • Sore throat

Schedule a flu visit online or from our iOS app today.

Find a neighborhood ZOOM+Care clinic near you in Portland, Seattle, Salem, or Vancouver.

Additional DIY Articles

Sore Throat; Sinus Infection; UTI; Cough; Ear Infection; STI; Cold; Bladder Infection; Rash

; Stomach Pain; Earwax Buildup; Bronchitis; Foot Pain; Yeast Infection; Strep Throat; Eye Infection; Fever; Back Pain; Asthma; Neck Pain; Allergies; Insect Bites and Stings; Headache; Diarrhea; Anxiety

Flu Prevention Tips

Aside from getting your yearly flu vaccine, consider these tips to help prevent the flu:

  • Don’t be the problem. If you’re sick, stay home. That won’t help you avoid the flu, but it’ll reduce the chance you infect someone else.
  • Be healthy. Proper sleep, physical activity, a good diet, and plenty of fluids will keep your immune system in fighting shape.
  • Keep your hands clean. It’ll wash away the flu virus and other germs.
  • Use tissues. Not your hands. It’s sanitary and polite.