How to Identify and Treat Influenza Symptoms

Flu season is coming / how to manage flu season

Tis the season, y’all. And I don’t mean the holidays, because those have come and gone already.

I mean it’s flu season – and we’re in the middle of a rough year, virus-wise. In fact, we’ve all been hit particularly hard this season. Over Christmas break it seemed like our kids came home, infected us all, and then we all had sniffles for a month! However, thankfully that was simply a series of unfortunate colds – no flu. How do I know? There are some slight differences in symptoms. So, let’s make sure you’re familiar with the common influenza symptoms. That way, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with your health and when you need to go see your doctor.

The Most Common Flu and Influenza Symptoms

The flu (or influenza) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. It can affect everyone differently, so dealing with the flu can be anywhere from a mild inconvenience to a life-threatening disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most-common symptoms include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish (although not everyone with influenza will have a fever)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffed or runny nose
  • Muscle, body aches, or general malaise
  • A headache
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children but may be present in adults

Now, nestled in among all of our colds this year I think we also had the flu for a couple of days. Thankfully, our cases were all mild enough to be treated at home (and officially undiagnosed). So let’s talk about how we managed to keep our dealings with the flu on the mild spectrum – and how we managed it at home.

Ready? Then let’s cover the boring disclaimer and then dive on in.

How to Mange Influenza Symptoms

My #1 go-to flu trick is getting the flu vaccine every year.

(And if you want to talk to your kids about the flu shot, here’s how you can do that like a pro!)

The flu vaccine is amazing. It’s also far from perfect. But even though it’s far from perfect, it serves an important purpose. You see, each October we get our flu shots – and it gives our immune systems a boost. It’s a “hey, this is the flu vaccine so let’s build up some antibodies to influenza, ‘mkay?”

That way, even if we get the flu, our bodies are a step ahead. We don’t have to wait for our immune system to tag influenza viruses and start an immune response. Antibodies have already been activated so we can start fighting it faster. So even if we get the flu, it’s not as bad – and it doesn’t last as long.

My second influenza tip is to keep an eye on your health and talk to your doctor. Because while antibiotics won’t help fight the flu, there are antivirals (like Tamiflu) that do help! So if you’re developing a more severe case, or are among at-risk populations like pregnant women, small children, the elderly, or immunocompromised, go see your doctor at the first sign of flu! That way, Tamiflu can make your life a lot easier.

My last tip is to control the symptoms. While dealing with the flu isn’t a lot of fun, it’s a lot easier when you’re able to rest, drink lots of fluids, and function. For me, that means taking antipyretics (fever fighting medicines) like Tylenol and Ibuprofen on a regular basis. That way, I feel well enough to continue functioning, helping my kids, and can sleep more comfortably. And when I get enough sleep? I’m able to heal faster.

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I know a lot of people love essential oils – they are amazing and they help so many people. Under the right circumstances, I love them and use them, too. However, with my asthma, I have to be extra careful with which I use – and how I use them. So when I’m already sick with the flu, these are the ones I tend to stick with.

Good Luck Fighting those Flu Germs!

So this flu season, good luck fighting off those nasty germs. Of course, if you can prevent getting it at all, that’s the best course of action. But if you do catch the flu, at least you’ve got some tips, tricks, and knowledge in your pocket to fight it off faster.

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Want to read some more technical articles on flu? They’re really fun to read if you’re sick and need something that’ll help you doze off – or if you’re a nerdy nurse like me.

Kimberly C. Starr

I'm a ginger who loves reading, eating, being a nurse, spending time with my family, and writing about it all. I believe humor is the best medicine, followed very closely by chocolate and tacos. To read more about me, click here.

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