Flu season is upon us and, despite our best efforts, we may come down with this dreaded illness.
If you do become infected with the Influenza virus, it’s important to be able to identify associated symptoms, understand how they differ from those of a cold, and recognize when to seek medical treatment.
You may also wonder, “How long does the flu last?”
Here’s everything you need to know about managing the flu.
How Do You Know if You Have the Flu?
While a cold usually has a build-up period and presents gradually, symptoms of the flu have a rapider onset. Plus, the flu typically launches a systemic attack on the body, compared to a cold that often just affects airways.
With that being said, once patients begin to experience flu-like symptoms, they should immediately seek medical attention, as the virus can potentially lead to complications or even death.
Common symptoms of the flu that you should be aware of include: Headache, dry cough, reduced or no appetite, fever of between 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, extreme fatigue, muscle pain, and body aches.
What Causes the Flu?
Patients become infected with the flu when viruses, which are microorganisms that are smaller than bacteria, multiply quickly and affect the entire body. There are four known viruses that are responsible for the flu, including Influenza A, B, C, and D.
Although Influenza D only affects cattle, A and B can produce seasonal epidemics and C can cause respiratory illnesses.
How Long Does the Flu Last?
Despite the fact that the flu hits fast and hard, it is often relatively short-lived. In fact, the flu only lasts about a week for most patients. Nevertheless, in complex cases, severe symptoms usually resolve in about a week, and lingering effects subside after the second week.
But how long does the flu last in at-risk individuals, like those with compromised immune systems, children, and seniors? For these patients, it can take two or more weeks to recover from the flu.
If you believe that you are coming down with the flu, please call our office today to schedule an appointment with one of DC’s top internal medicine docs, Dr. Bruce Rashbaum. We can evaluate your symptoms and recommend a customized treatment plan to alleviate discomfort and help avoid complications.