It’s that time of year again, the seasons have officially changed and people are starting to show signs of cold and flu season symptoms. Before you know it, it seems like everyone has had or currently has the bug. The worst part about it is that it’s nearly impossible to avoid people who are sick this time of year. Whether it’s the woman two cubicles over who showed up to work with a terrible cough, or the guy at the grocery store who stopped in for cold medication and used your cart before you. Let’s face it, the flu happens… but what’s important is that you know the symptoms and know how to treat it.
Common flu symptoms
The symptoms of the flu can range from pretty mild to very severe. Since the flu typically hits pretty fast, it’s good to have a game plan in mind if you do come down with it. If you’ve been exposed to the flu virus, your symptoms will likely start to appear within one to four days from the exposure. Here are some tell-tale signs of the flu:
- Fever of 100 degrees or higher
- Sudden muscle aches and headache
- Unexplainable chills (even with layers and blankets)
- Severe fatigue
- Runny nose (more so in kids than adults)
What to do if you have the flu
If you want to kick the flu as fast as possible, it’s not a good idea to “wait it out”. The sooner you notice your symptoms, the sooner you can get in to see a doctor who can give you more information on medication. If taken within the first 48 hours of your initial onset of symptoms, prescription flu meds can help shorten the duration of your flu.
If your child gets the flu, your pediatrician or family doctor should be able to give you more information about approved flu medications for kids.
Flu prevention tips
While it’s not exactly possible to completely prevent the flu, there are actions you can take to help prevent you from getting it.
- Wash your hands
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Get a flu vaccine (recommended age 6 and up).
For more tips, check out this helpful guide on how to be prepared for this year’s flu season and prevent getting sick.