Many people that have the flu actually misjudge it as being a cold since their symptoms are so tolerable so it can be confusing.
What Causes the Flu
It is important to understand that the influenza virus constantly changes and can mutate into a more severe or mild strain at any time. This allows it to infect someone’s immune system who has had a flu shot because their vaccination may not protect against what the strain has become.
The flu is one of the easiest illnesses you can catch because it is spread through contact or by even breathing in infected air. Therefore, if a person walking in front of you at the mall coughs or sneezes into the air and you walk through those tainted air particles, you can become infected. Alternatively, if that same person covers their mouth with their hand when they cough or sneeze and then touches a railing or elevator button that you touch after them, you have picked up the virus.
What are the Symptoms?
Nearly everyone who has the flu experiences a pretty high fever, children can see dangerous levels. This is almost always accompanied with a sore throat, fatigue and muscle aches. Most people describe this uncomfortable feeling as everything hurting. Headaches can also be present and there is a good chance that you will have a runny or stuffy nose.
The majority of the population who experiences these symptoms will recover within two weeks, others will develop pneumonia, which can result in death.
When are Symptoms an Emergency?
Every fever or sore throat is not considered an emergency situation. However, it is important that you do seek medical treatment if symptoms become severe or if you experience abdominal or chest pain, difficulty breathing, persistent vomiting, confusion or dizziness. Due to the scare of the swine flu, doctor’s offices and emergency rooms have been overwhelmed by individuals who have very mild influenza symptoms which takes time away from other patients who need attention more.
Additionally, symptoms of the flu in children can become serious quite fast so it is crucial that they are closely monitored. Your child should see a doctor if they are extremely irritable (more than average), not waking up, having a hard time breathing, not drinking liquids or have blue or pale skin. Children can become dangerously dehydrated pretty fast so this is always a concern with the flu.