Influenza symptoms mimic a cold or sinus infection but differ greatly in severity. Many patients experience:
· Hacking, dry cough
· Sore throat
· Chills, shaking
· Stuffy nose; runny nose
· Severe fatigue (can’t get out of bed)
· Severe body aches
Fever, chills, fatigue, and body aches indicate Influenza rather than common cold.
Yes. The flu shot is designed to protect the patient from the three strains of Influenza that are most likely to spread during the current flu season while the mist can protect against four (two Influenza A viruses and two Influenza B viruses). However, there are thousands of strains in existence. The flu shot is a very important part of flu prevention, but exposure to a virus not addressed by the vaccination can result in Influenza.
Influenza and the stomach flu do not have similar causes, symptoms, or treatment. The stomach flu is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, while Influenza is characterized by fatigue, fever, respiratory symptoms, body aches, and headache. The stomach flu rarely requires medical intervention while Influenza can be life-threatening in some immunocompromised patients. The flu shot does not protect patients from contracting the stomach flu.
When Influenza is identified early, antiviral medications can be administered to encourage faster recovery. Other medications may be prescribed to address symptoms like cough, fever, and stuffy nose. In some cases, especially when the patient is very young, very old, or otherwise immunocompromised, hospitalization is required.
How soon a pediatric patient can return to school or daycare typically depends on the policies of the institution. Once the fever has been gone for 24 hours, the patient is no longer contagious and can safely return to work or school as long as the facility’s policies allow it.
In most cases, Influenza can be managed home but it can take up to two weeks to run its full course. Most patients seek medical treatment to shorten the duration of the flu and lessen its impact on their work, their health, and their household.
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