Influenza: 9 Early Symptoms of The Flu

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It’s officially flu season! Seasonal Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, can cause a wide variety of symptoms and outcomes. While some people may experience only a mild case of the flu, others may develop serious and life-threatening complications. It’s important to be able to recognize the early symptoms of the flu so that you can seek medical attention if necessary. 

I just went to the doctor in December 2022 and was tested and it showed I had Influenza A. I tried for a week to kick it myself but I couldn’t. At my age, I can’t risk it. I was having trouble breathing. I had a great physician and it took another week to kick it. All was well for the holidays, thank goodness. My opinion has always been when in doubt seek help from a medical care professional.

Influenza: 9 Early Symptoms of The Flu

Influenza Symptoms

What is the Flu?

The flu, also known as influenza, is a viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system. The flu is caused by the influenza virus droplets, which are spread through contact with respiratory secretions from a person’s own mouth to others, from the noses of people, or contact with contaminated surfaces where you experience the spread of germs. 

Although the flu can affect us all, including healthy people, the flu can be especially dangerous for young children, the elderly, and people with medical challenges like heart and lung diseases, and weakened immune systems. For more information on the flu and who is at risk, be sure to check the Centers for Disease Control website.

Each year, the flu virus mutates, making it difficult to predict which strain will be most prevalent. As a result, scientists develop a new flu vaccine each year to keep up with the evolving virus. While the flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it is still the best way to protect yourself from the disease.

If you do happen to catch the flu, there are a number of antiviral medications that can help to lessen the severity of your symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get an annual flu shot, so those antiviral medicines can do their job for you and your family.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT advocating for or against any vaccinations.

Types of Influenza

There are two main types of flu viruses: Influenza A and Influenza B.  Influenza A viruses are classified according to the subtypes of their surface proteins, which are designated by letters. For example, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus was an influenza A (H1N1) virus. The Bird Flu is another influenza virus but is not as common in humans.

Influenza B viruses are not as variable as influenza A viruses and don’t have subtypes. Because of this, Influenza B viruses aren’t classified in the same way as influenza A viruses.

What is the difference between influenza A and B?

The main difference between influenza A and B is that influenza A viruses are classified according to subtypes, while influenza B viruses are not. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing, which makes them more difficult to prevent with vaccines. In contrast, influenza B viruses change much less frequently, making them easier to prevent with vaccines.

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Both types of influenza viruses can cause severe illness, but influenza A viruses are typically more virulent and cause more possible side effects. Influenza A viruses are also responsible for pandemics, which are global outbreaks of disease.

9 Early Symptoms of the Flu?

If you have a headache or sneezes, it can be tough to know if it’s a cold or an early sign of the flu. Here are some of the most common early flu symptoms to look out for:

1. Fever

The first sign of the flu is usually a high fever reaching 102 degrees or higher. Although a low-grade fever may occur, the flu is usually characterized by a high fever.

2. Body Aches and Pains

These muscle aches and pains can be generalized, meaning they affect your entire body, or they can be localized, meaning they only affect one specific area.

3. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of the flu, and it can be severe. People with the flu often describe feeling exhausted and as though they have been hit by a truck.

4. Cough

A hacking dry cough is another common symptom of the flu. This cough can become more productive, meaning it produces mucus, as the infection progresses.

5. Sore Throat

A sore throat is another common symptom of the flu. This symptom is usually accompanied by a dry, scratchy feeling.

6. Runny Nose or Congestion

A runny nose is another common symptom of the flu. This symptom is usually accompanied by a stuffy nose as well.

7. Chills

Chills often accompany a fever and can make people feel cold even when they are wrapped in blankets. You may also have moments where you feel hot and then really cold.

8. Difficulty Breathing

If you’re having difficulty breathing, it is important to seek medical help immediately, as this could be a sign of a more serious complication, including a contagious respiratory illness or a sign of congestive heart failure.

9. Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea

While nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are not common symptoms of the flu, they can occasionally occur, particularly in children.

When to Seek Medical Attention?

If you or your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately since they may relate to serious flu complications:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness – could be a sign of ear infections
  • Fainting
  • Severe or persistent vomiting and related loss of appetite
  • Confusion
  • High fever in infants less than 3 months old

These symptoms may be signs of a more serious complication, such as pneumonia, and it is important to seek medical attention right away. Additionally, if you are high risk, meaning you have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, problems with your lungs, pregnant women, or are immune compromised, it’s important to talk to a doctor right away.

How is the Flu Diagnosed?

The flu is typically diagnosed based on symptoms. However, if you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, or are experiencing severe symptoms, your doctor may order a test to confirm the diagnosis. There are two types of tests that can be used to diagnose the flu:

  • Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs): These tests can detect the influenza virus in about 15 minutes. However, RIDTs are not always accurate and may give false positive results. This means that the test may show that you have the flu when you actually don’t.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests: These tests can confirm the presence of the influenza virus and are more accurate than RIDTs. PCR tests usually take a day or two to get results.

How to Prevent Getting the Flu

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting an influenza vaccine. The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, meaning it contains dead viruses. These dead viruses can’t infect you with the flu.

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The flu shot is typically given as an injection, but there is also a nasal spray version of the vaccine for people who are unable to receive injections. The flu vaccine is typically given once a year, and it is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine at least annually.

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, there are other things you can do to prevent the spread of the flu:

Wash your hands often and thoroughly

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of the flu. Be sure to wash your hands often, and use soap and water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Avoid touching your face

Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can help the flu virus spread. Be sure to avoid touching your face as much as possible, particularly if you’ve shaken hands with others, touched possible contaminated surfaces, or think others around you may be infected.

Change Your Toothbrushes

Change your toothbrushes as often as your budget will allow.  It is recommended that you change your toothbrush every 3-4 months.

Use Clorox Wipes

Wipe all light switches in every room, toilet seat handles, door knobs, lamp switches, cabinet door knobs, remote controls, phones, etc. with Clorox Wipes. Use care when cleaning cell phones so they don’t get moisture inside them.

Use Hand Sanitizer

Use hand sanitizer whenever you are out in public and have to touch things that other people have touched. When going through your bank, handling ATM canisters, or buttons, after filling your gas tank, etc, use hand sanitizer.

Stay Healthy

You can also do things to keep your body healthy such as eating fruits & vegetables, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and taking vitamins.  These things will help your body fight off the flu virus. Make sure you are stocking up on supplements

What to Do if You Get the Flu

If you do get the flu, there are things you can do to make yourself feel better:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids
  • Take over-the-counter medication to help with fever and pain such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • If you have a fever, stay home until it goes down
  • Avoid contact with other people as much as possible to prevent the spread of the flu virus

These are just a few things you can do to prevent the flu, and what to do if you get it. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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Final Word

The flu is a serious virus that can cause severe illness in people of all ages. The best way to prevent getting the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. In addition to getting a flu vaccine, we’ve discussed many other things you can do to prevent the spread of the flu. Share these suggestions with other family members, co-workers, if appropriate, and those in your area of influence you feel may be most at risk, including elderly friends and neighbors.

None of us wants to get sick, and for some, it can be life-threatening. Do your part to protect yourself and those you love. Don’t think serious illness will only happen to others. May God bless this world. Linda

Copyright Images: Influenza Woman with Lemons AdobeStock_29037567 By nyul

17 thoughts on “Influenza: 9 Early Symptoms of The Flu

  • January 30, 2023 at 7:37 am

    I always give myself a new toothbrush as soon as I am well also. And a new one on the day of my birthday, but every month! God bless and stay well!

    • January 30, 2023 at 9:02 am

      Hi Jan, oh my gosh, I love this idea! I’m going to buy a few dozen to hand out to my family now! Linda

  • January 30, 2023 at 8:48 am

    Sorry for the misspelling of echinacea in the previous post! There are plenty of other potent natural “respiratory” treatments from old timers, too. I just posted what works for our family. If I were to add anything, I think it would be to put lots of garlic or garlic capsules into the mix, and probably some unheated, raw honey into the teas mentioned. Both are great for viruses!

    • January 30, 2023 at 8:57 am

      Oh, sorry this is so long! I just remembered one more thing of importance: My husband also took MUCINEX, but only the low dose one. If you take the high dose, it will cause your sinuses to drain for a long time and profusely. You do NOT want that to keep dripping down your throat or into your lungs overnight! Take the lower dose and it will help without so much dripping! It also helps to sleep in a recliner or sitting at an incline, so your lungs don’t get so badly affected. Sorry for the add-ons and the length of my comments. However, Influenza A is not something to take lightly or fool with!

      • January 30, 2023 at 9:18 am

        Hi Jess, thank you. Luckily I got through Influenza A fine with just an inhaler and an oximeter. Yay! Linda

    • January 30, 2023 at 9:03 am

      Hi Jess, I agree, garlic or garlic capsules work great!! oh and raw honey is the best! Linda

  • January 30, 2023 at 9:09 am

    Hi Terry, I never advocate for or against any vaccinations. This was just to help others soothe their symptoms. Linda

    • January 30, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      Understood, Linda. Sorry my post contained things that your sponsirs wouldn’t allow. Keep up the excellent work that we all have come to look forward to.

      • January 30, 2023 at 5:25 pm

        HI Terry, thank you, my friend, I respect your comments. But like so many things these days every thing is censored, even my blog and comments. At first, when I learned about it and one of my favorite bloggers got kicked out, I knew I had to follow the rules. They will not repeal any decision. Period. Thanks for understanding, Linda

  • January 30, 2023 at 10:59 am

    We have chosen to get the flu vaccine with good results so far, but everyone has to do what is best for them. ….. please though be careful to not ignore symptoms thinking it is JUST the flu. My husband ended up in the hospital for five days with double pneumonia after fighting me, because it was JUST the flu. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

    • January 30, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      HI Chris, we must all do what is right for us. If I see negative comments, (never from you) I have to delete them. My ad company which pays me to help support the costs of my blog will not tolerate certain topics. There have been too many today that could possibly shut my blog down. We all do the best we can with our health and our medical decisions. That’s all we can do. That is all I can say. Linda

      • January 30, 2023 at 2:34 pm

        Please thank the advertisers who support your blog. I know so many topics are controversial, but you with their support have provided invaluable guidance and wisdom that improve our lives. God Bless you and keep you safe

  • January 30, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Trustisunbreakable, I can appreciate and respect a different point of view. We have worked to keep my husband’s heart condition under control for the past 46 years. There have been doctors who we trusted and those we don’t. There is always questions. We do the best we can.

  • January 30, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    I have to say, I am blessed in many ways but good health is right up there on that list.
    I have never had a cold or flu. I have sinus problems and I wonder if taking those over the counter tablets keeps me so well.
    I just woke with a drippy nose, took tablet, took care of that fast.
    God bless all you folks.

    • January 30, 2023 at 5:26 pm

      HI Jay Jay, oh I used to get sinus infection after sinus infection! Those are so rough! Stay well, Linda


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