The winter season is upon us and soon, it’s going to be officially “flu season”. Most people simply pass off the flu as a simple cold and believe hot soup and cold medicine will alleviate the symptoms of this common disease until it eventually goes away. However, the flu can be more serious to your health if you’re pregnant, a child, elderly, or if you have a chronic condition.
In fact, you can actually suffer serious consequences from the flu even if you appear to be perfectly healthy before catching the flu. The flu can lead to more serious diseases such as pneumonia or bronchitis, which can lead to hospitalization and even death.
Do you know how the flu differs from a cold and what you can do to combat this yearly malady? Better yet, do you know the symptoms of the flu and when it’s actually time to see a doctor?
Here are the different types of symptoms one can experience when having the flu and how to know when it’s an appropriate time to consider visiting a walk-in clinic.
How to Tell You Have the Flu
The symptoms of the flu and the common cold can be very similar. However, there are some key differences between the two that you should know so that you can know if you need to get the proper treatment right away. Some common differences between the flu and the common cold are:
- Symptoms usually come on suddenly
- A fever accompanies a stuffy nose and sneezing
- Achy muscles
- Extreme fatigue
- Dry cough
- Watery eyes
- Sore throat
With the common cold, it’s normal to have a stuffy nose, mild weakness and sneezing. However, the rest of the symptoms above are not common with the cold and are usually indicative of something more serious like the flu.
Remember, the flu has the ability to turn into a life-threatening illness such as bronchitis or pneumonia so it’s important to know the difference between the flu and the common cold.
Children and the Flu
When children catch the flu, they sometimes experience different symptoms than adults who have the flu. In fact, many parents mistakenly believe their child has a stomach virus when in fact, they have the flu because of their tendency to experience nausea and vomiting while sick with the flu.
Here are some symptoms of children catching the flu:
- Chills and shakes
- A fever up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Extreme tiredness
- Belly pain
Kids with the flu are highly contagious. Exposure to a single sneeze, a bit of saliva, or mucus from a sick child can contaminate other children. They can even spread the flu virus a day before they experience any symptoms and days after the symptoms are gone.
Some common ways children spread the virus is through hand-to-hand contact, through pencils, toys, remote controls, and utensils.
If you believe your child has the flu, don’t hesitate to bring them to one of our walk-in clinics in San Francisco or San Jose. Our convenient operating hours and reasonable prices mean there’s no reason to take a risk with your child and the flu.
Pregnant Women & the Flu
Unfortunately, catching the flu while pregnant can be mean a more severe situation than when a normal person catches the flu. When pregnant women catch the flu, it can last three times longer; can lead to hospitalization and even premature labor and delivery.
Most pregnant women would want to know how the flu affects their baby. The good news is that the flu doesn’t hurt the baby and you’re not more likely to catch the flu because you’re pregnant. The single best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get the flu shot.
It doesn’t matter what trimester you’re in; the flu shot is safe for you and your baby. And, the good news is, the flu shot will protect you and your baby from the flu up to 6 months after they’re born which is convenient since the flu shot isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months old.
Being pregnant already comes with its malaise and other annoying symptoms. Don’t aggravate your time being pregnant by catching the flu. Come to one of our walk-in clinics in San Francisco or San Jose and get your flu shot today.
Elderly Persons & the Flu
When the elderly catch the flu, it is more likely to lead to complications that can lead to hospitalization and even death. The flu in the elderly can lead to pneumonia, dehydration, or worsen chronic conditions like asthma, emphysema and heart disease.
The flu symptoms in the elderly are similar to flu symptoms found in adults and include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throats, runny noses, and sneezing. While it’s not common, the elderly can experience nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain like a child would while having the flu.
When It’s Appropriate to See a Doctor
Like mentioned before, most people think having the flu is harmless and in most cases, the flu will go away after a week or two. However, it’s important to realize when it’s time to go see a doctor when flu symptoms worsen.
Every year, more than 200,000 people in the US have hospitalized due to the flu and tens of thousands of people die from the flu. While babies, pregnant women, and the elderly are most at risk for having complications from the flu, anyone can find himself or herself in the hospital due to the flu turning into pneumonia or bronchitis.
If you or your child experience any of the following conditions, it’s important to contact a physician as soon as possible:
- Fever higher than 104 degrees
- Coughing up blood
- Pain or pressure in chest
- Bluish nails
- Severe flu-like symptoms that become even more severe and won’t go away
Don’t wait around until your flu worsens; drop by our walk-in clinic in San Francisco and either get the flu shot or treatment for the flu. Our hours are 11:00am to 7:00pm, 7 days a week.