Many viruses can cause flu-like illness. There is frequently a seasonal outbreak of flu i.e., influenza in the UK each winter. Flu-like illnesses naturally cause a high temperature or fever, aches, and pains in the muscles and joints, a cough and various other symptoms. Most of the people recover fully, but problems such as pneumonia can sometimes develop. Complications are sometimes serious. Every year some of the people die from the problems of flu. If you are at increased risk of developing the complications, you should be immunized against the seasonal flu (have a flu jab) each autumn. Flu symptoms and Flu-like Illness
What are the flu and flu-like illnesses?
Flu or influenza is caused by the influenza virus. Although, many other viruses can cause an illness alike to flu. It is frequently difficult to say exactly which virus is causing the illness, so doctors frequently diagnose a flu-like illness.
There are 3 types of influenza virus – A, B and C. Influenza A and B cause most of the cases of flu. Each winter the different type of influenza virus causes an outbreak of flu which affects many of the people. This is called seasonal flu. If you get a flu-like illness during an outbreak of the seasonal flu, it is likely to be caused by the prevailing influenza virus. Most cases of flu usually occur in the period of 6 to 8 weeks during the winter.
Swine flu is caused by a scrupulous strain of influenza A virus which is called influenza A virus (H1N1v). It seems to affect the children and young adults more commonly than those over the age of 60 years. Most of the people with this type of flu have a mild flu-like illness. You are more likely to have sickness and/or diarrhea with this type of flu.
Note: bird flu or avian influenza is different and is more serious.
What are flu symptoms (or flu-like illness symptoms)?
Common flu or influenza symptoms in adults and older children include:
- High temperature (fever).
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints.
- A dry cough.
- A sore throat.
- A headache.
- You might also feel sick.
The illness caused by the influenza virus tends to be worse than illnesses caused by other viruses which cause a flu-like illness. Even if you are young and fit, flu can make you ill enough to need to go to bed.
Common flu symptoms in babies and young children include fever, sweats, a cough, sore throat, sneezing, difficulty in breathing, lack of energy or lethargy and poor feeding. Some young children with flu might have the febrile seizure. A feverish convulsion is a fit that occurs in some children with a fever.
Typically, symptoms are at their worst after 1 to 2 days. Then they typically gradually ease over the several days. An irritating cough might persevere for a week or so after other symptoms have gone. Most of the people recover completely within 2-7 days.
How do you catch the flu?
Flu or influenza is passed from person to person by droplets created when someone with infection sneezes or coughs. You can also catch it by touching the surface where the virus has been deposited. Flu can spread quickly in these ways.
What else could my symptoms be due to?
Other serious illnesses can have alike symptoms to flu or influenza when they first develop – for example, meningitis, malaria, or pneumonia. If you have a more serious illness, other symptoms usually develop in addition to those mentioned above.
Symptoms to look out for which might mean that you have the different and more severe illness include:
- Rash – in scrupulous if dark red spots develop that does not lighten when pressed.
- Stiff neck – mainly if you cannot bend your neck forward.
- A headache that becomes worse and worse.
- Dislike of bright lights – if you require to shut your eyes and turn away from light.
- Drowsiness and/or confusion.
- Repeatedly being sick or vomiting.
- Chest pains.
- Coughing up the blood or blood-stained sputum.
Note: it is important to tell the doctor if you have flu-like symptoms and you have been to a country within the previous year where malaria is present. Original symptoms of malaria can be alike to flu.