Flu SymptomsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of complications of the flu (influenza). Additionally 36,000 Americans die annually from the illness. While the flu itself is not deadly, it is important to understand the symptoms of the flu so it can be diagnosed and treated before complications occur.
Influenza is caused by a viral infection that strikes the respiratory system. This includes the lungs, bronchial tubes, throat and nose. According to the Mayo Clinic, the flu is often confused with the common cold because they have similar symptoms. Common flu symptoms include:
- Chills or sweats
- Fever of 101 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dry cough
- Nasal congestion
- Muscle pain in arms, legs and back
- Loss of appetite
Infants, children and individuals over 50 years of age are considered “high risk” patients and are more likely to suffer from complications of the illness. Additionally, people with chronic disorders, who are pregnant, work in the health care industry or live a nursing home, are at an increased risk of contracting the flu and complications.Common treatment of the flu entails bed rest and a lot of liquid. However, your doctor may also opt to prescribe you an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu or Relenza to help battle the sickness. It is important to note The Food and Drug Administration now requires the manufacture of Tamiflu to include a warning label on the drug because of its many side effects. Therefore, it is important to discuss your particular situation and medication options with your physician before taking medication to treat your symptoms.
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