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How Long Does the Flue Last? – Timeline and Symptoms

How Long Does the Flue Last – Timeline and Symptoms

How Long Does the Flue Last?Flu or sometimes called influenza is a common disease that has been experienced by almost everyone in this world. This contagious disease can infect both and children and adults. How long does the flu last? Well, the infection itself can last days or weeks, depending on several factors. Find out everything you need to know about the disease and how long it stays in your body on the following page.


Duration of Flu Symptoms

Flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by the influenza virus. It usually infects the nose, throat, and lungs, causing some respiratory issues for the sufferers. 

The symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe, depending on a person’s immune system. Most of the time, the flu symptoms only last for 3 to 7 days on those who do not develop serious flu complications. In many cases, the symptoms can even go on their own without medications.

However, some symptoms like fatigue or the feeling of weakness might last for two weeks or longer. Not only that but some people also suffer from coughs that could extend up to 8 weeks. Sometimes, people with influenza feel their symptoms get better and then find them get worse again, especially in the morning.

Some groups of people like infants, very young children, pregnant women, and elderly people with respiratory disease can even develop flue symptoms for a longer time. Furthermore, these groups of people are also more prone to suffer from more serious flu complications such as breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

These complications can develop due to several factors. Sometimes, it is simply because of influenza itself. But, it can also be caused by a secondary bacterial infection. Complications that are related to flu infection can lead to hospitalization to the sufferers, even death. 

If you are having preexisting conditions when the flu infecting you, it can get them worse.  


Timeline and Symptoms of Influenza

You need to know that flu symptoms can emerge suddenly. You can be in a transition time from feeling that your body is fit to have a fever along with other symptoms like headache and chills. Most healthy adults are infected with the influenza virus the day before the symptoms develop.

Compared to cold, high fever is more common in people with influenza. Most of the time, the fever comes before other symptoms appear. Those with flu often remain infectious for up to 5 to 7 days after the symptoms emerge for the first time. 

These symptoms even stay longer on those with a weak immune system. If you are having influenza, you might experience these symptoms.

  • chills
  • high fever
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • a sore throat
  • vomiting
  • fatigue or extreme weakness
  • congestion
  • dry cough

These symptoms often reach their peaks between 2 to 4, preventing you to do activities. Entering the fifth day, most people often feel better with their flu symptoms. You might have got some of your energy back to do your daily routine on day 5 of your flu.

But, keep in mind to stay at home for 24 hours your fever gets ease. This is important especially if the fever only breaks after you consuming the anti-fever medication. It is to make sure that the fever doesn’t come back and you get better with the symptoms.

On the seventh day after the influenza virus infection, most people will feel better though they do not fully recover yet. Some of them might feel weak and losing appetite. You need to know that it is quite common for people to have flu that lasts for more than a week.

In this way, having a slow recovery process is not a bad thing and you don’t need to be worried about it. However, make sure that you put your concern more on your condition if the flu symptoms keep getting worse after a week. 


How to Treat the Flu Symptoms

An antiviral flu drug is often considered the best and effective treatment given to those with flu symptoms. The most common antiviral flu drug prescribed for those with flu symptoms are ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

You can consume these medications within two days. This will help you to relieve the flu symptoms fast. Not only that but the antiviral flu drug can also shorten the flu duration and help you to avoid complications that might come with the infection. 

Some people use antibiotics to soothe the symptoms but it will not work. This is because antibiotics can’t be used to treat the flu. You need to keep in mind that influenza is a virus while antibiotics are meant to treat infections caused by bacterial. That is why you can’t treat flu symptoms by using antibiotics. 

Recovery Aids

Aside from an antiviral flu drug, there are some things you can do to help you feel better and recover faster from the influenza virus.

Get Some Rest

Your flu symptoms could disappear faster if you have a good immune system. In this way, make sure that you have plenty of sleep to boost your immune system. 

Treat Your Cough

When having flu, you need to treat your coughs well. It will help you to get to sleep easier.

Drink a Lot of Water

Drinking plenty of water will help you a lot with the flu symptoms. It will avoid you to have dehydration especially if you have a fever. You can also consume electrolyte drink to replace the loss of fluids caused by vomiting.


When to See the Doctor

This is important to talk to your doctor if your flu symptoms do not improve after a week or new symptoms such as ear pain develop. Get emergency medical treatment soon if:

  1. your temperature reaches 1030F or higher
  2. you get difficulty to breathe 
  3. experiencing unbearable muscle pain and make it hard for you to walk
  4. severe headache that doesn’t go away after a few hours
  5. you urinate very rarely or stop urinating
  6. children make loud sounds when breathing or pull in the muscles around their ribs
  7. infants under the age of 12 weeks having a fever


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