Although getting the flu can happen anytime, it peaks during the fall and winter (December and February) – flu season. In most cases, the flu will go away without medical intervention in four to seven days. However, if you are healthy without any chronic medical condition, and you have trouble breathing, a sore throat that’s painful even when drinking water, and a cough that produces greenish or yellowish mucus, you need to seek medical attention. Contact Highland Family Medicine for an urgent appointment.
Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as “stomach flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Flu spreads by passing through the air and entering your body through your nose or mouth. Between 5% and 20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year.
The flu can be severe or even deadly for older adults, newborn babies, and people with certain chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma.
How About the Cold?
Like the flu, the cold is also caused by a virus and a respiratory illness. However, the significant difference is the intensity. Colds are much milder than the flu.
With the cold, your symptoms may only be limited to a sore throat and a runny nose. Fever is uncommon with the cold, and you’ll likely recover after a day or two.
How Contagious Is the Flu?
The flu starts to be contagious a day before your symptoms show. That’s the reason people spread it quickly because they are contagious without feeling any weakness.
You’re contagious while you still show symptoms – but not indefinitely. You’re most likely no longer contagious five to seven days after feeling sick.
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. It usually happens when you wake up after sleeping or even right after a meal. People who are sick with the flu feel some or all of these symptoms:
Depending on your immune system, you may or may not have a fever. You may only have body aches or, at the very least, feel feverish.
Like all other illnesses, symptoms are not always identical. Some have it more severe, some will have milder symptoms, and some are even asymptomatic.
What we need to look out for are people who are at higher risk of developing flu complications. These are people who should seek immediate professional medical care.
If you or your child fall under any of the bullets mentioned above, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately. At Highland Family Medicine, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin will provide the best care for those in need.
Usually, you’ll need nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids (water or fruit juice) to treat the flu. Sometimes, however, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, such as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or Zanamivir (Relenza).
If taken soon after you notice symptoms, these drugs may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications.
Oseltamivir is an oral medication. On the other hand, Zanamivir is inhaled through a device similar to an asthma inhaler. No one with respiratory problems, such as asthma and lung disease, should use the latter.
Antiviral medication side effects may include nausea and vomiting. You may lessen these side effects if you take medicine with food. Oseltamivir has also been associated with delirium and self-harm behaviors in teenagers.
Some strains of influenza have become resistant to amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine), which are older antiviral drugs. However, they are still highly effective on strains without resistance, which is why doctors may still prescribe them.
Apart from the medication, rest, and fluid intake mentioned above, you may also try these other remedies:
Saline Nasal Spray
If you have a runny or stuffy nose, a saline nasal spray can make breathing easier by reducing inflammation and relieving pressure.
Eat More Fruits
Bananas, apples, and oranges are great choices that help your body recover. They’re also easy to digest and are packed with nutrition. They are also water-rich, which helps you keep hydrated.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) helps relieve body aches. They’re also accessible and are safer for all ages compared to other pain relievers such as aspirin.
The flu (influenza), although common and has been with us for over a century, can still be severe and life-threatening. Flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by the influenza virus. Antibiotics do not work against it, but with proper rest and nutrition, it will go away on its own.
The flu becomes a real problem when it lasts for over a week, and it has developed into more complicated conditions like pneumonia, ear infection, and even multi-organ failure. Dr. Helton and his team of healthcare professionals have treated thousands and thousands of patients with flu in Murfreesboro, TN. With the right medication and care, we’re confident you’ll get back into shape.
Highland Family Medicine and its doctors, Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin, have been serving and treating the community of Murfreesboro, TN, and surrounding areas for over two decades.
Collectively, they have treated more than 20,000 patients. Highland Family Medicine specializes in comprehensive health care for people of all ages, treating most ailments and non-emergencies.
Please don’t hesitate to call the Highland Family Medicine doctor’s office. Dr. Helton, Dr. Housden, and Dr. Hardin are professionals and ready to serve.