Everything You Need to Know About the Flu

Of all the common illnesses, the flu is one of the most unpleasant. This highly contagious virus can leave you stuck in bed for what feels like an eternity. No one wants to be miserable with the aches and pains of the flu. So, how long does the flu last? If you treat it, will you get better faster? Here is your guide to the flu.

Influenza Basics

Influenza is a contagious virus that generally spread through a cough or sneeze. Likewise, you can spread the flu through sharing food or kissing. The flu comes in three different types, A, B, and C. For the most part, if you are healthy, the flu is an uncomfortable experience. The symptoms may include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Sore throat

The flu might affect different people differently. Your symptoms may vary and only include a few from the list. Likewise, you may experience other symptoms not listed.

Flu Longevity

For most people, your immune system will fight the flu off in a short time. The symptoms might appear from one to four days after you’re first exposure. Then, you can expect the flu to last from five to seven days. Now, keep in mind that the times may vary. For instance, if you had the flu shot, the duration may be shorter and your symptoms may not be as severe. However, in other people, the symptoms may be more severe and last longer.

Complications are likely in the following people:

  • People 65 and older
  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic illnesses
  • People with a BMI of 40 or higher

If you have a weakened immune system, you are at increased risk for pneumonia and other complications.

Flu Treatment

Usually, you can treat the flu at home. All you need is to get plenty of rest and remain hydrated. You can take pain relievers to lower your fever and to ease the aches and pain. Now, if you’re someone who is at high risk of complications, your doctor might prescribe an antiviral drug. For most people, however, treating it at home with over the counter medication works fine.

While the flu is unpleasant, it isn’t necessarily dangerous to a healthy person. If you have a weakened immune system, then it is always safer to see a doctor when you’re sick. If not, however, the flu should last for a few days and should respond to at home treatment.