Every year flu season comes in the winter months. We do our best to be prepared by stocking up on liquids and soups, putting boxes of tissues in every room and buying a wide range of cold medicines, lozenges and acetaminophens to treat the symptoms and make us more comfortable. We take steps to avoid getting sick by washing our hands and using hand sanitizers. We even avoid people with obvious symptoms but sometimes it’s just not enough. Here are 8 common symptoms that might mean you’ve succumbed to this season’s flu.
Oh My Aching Head!
Headaches have a variety of causes but it could be a symptom of the flu. Headaches are considered a secondary symptom since they are caused by other symptoms of the flu like sinus congestion or coughing creating pressure in our head. If you have a headache it’s often paired up with another flu symptom. Headaches make having the flu even more miserable. The pounding in our head and the constant aching can make even the most enjoyable activity seem like a chore and we want to curl up in a dark room and avoid loud noises until the pain stops.
Buy Stock in Tissues
It’s normal in the winter to use more tissues than the summer. But if you find that everyone in your family is walking around with a red nose from the constant blowing then it could be a symptom of the flu. Or if you refuse to leave the house without a pile of tissues you may be experiencing more than just the change in weather. Having a runny nose or sinus congestions is a sign that you could have the flu.
Skipped the Gym but Muscles Still Ache
Achy muscles normally mean that we had a great work out at the gym. But if you ignored your personal trainer’s calls for over a week and still find that your muscles are sore it could be a sign that you’ve come down with the flu. Muscles ache when we have the flu because our immune system is fighting something. When the immune system kicks it starts a chain reaction in the body. The body begins by producing anti-bodies and histamines which widen blood vessels. This response gets to our muscles and causes them to contract more frequently creating lactic acid. Lactic acid is what causes our muscles to ache just like when we exercise in the gym.
Feeling Run Down?
Having the flu can make anyone feel run down. Feeling tired and fatigued is a common symptom of the flu. There are a variety of reasons we may feel tired it could be that we don’t feel like eating so we aren’t getting enough nutrition or because our body is using additional nutrients to fight the cold. Either way feeling tired or fatigued is a common symptom people get with the flu.
Viruses and bacteria grow best when our body is a constant 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So, when our bodies are fighting a cold they raise our internal temperature by a degree or two to help combat the infection and stop the virus’s ability to grow. This is why we get a fever when we have the flu. Also, when our internal thermostat is raised we start to get chills and our body starts shivering to help raise the internal temperature to compensate for the change.
Cough, Cough, Cough
Coughing is a common symptom of the flu. When we are sick our lungs will start to fill with mucus to protect them from bacteria. When the mucus travels down our throat it causes us to cough. Coughing is a natural response to keeping foreign material from entering our lungs and happens more frequently when we are fighting an illness.
That Annoying Sore Throat
Sore throats are an annoyance when we are sick. They prevent us from speaking comfortably and make eating and drinking painful. A common symptom of the flu is a sore throat. When we have an infection our throat swells and becomes painful and red. Everything that touches our throat causes pain so we have to be careful when we eat. With some time patience and a little bit of honey we can wait out this common flu symptom.
Vomiting and diarrhea are both unpleasant symptoms of the flu. These two symptoms are much more common in children who are not able to deal with the other symptoms of a cold. Children will vomit more when they have the flu as they swallow mucus which is carrying the virus or bacteria. When the mucus carrying the virus hits the stomach it causes the stomach to expel the pathogen by vomiting. Diarrhea can result when the flu settles in the intestines. Since antibiotics do not work for the flu all you can do is wait out this symptom and be very careful about what you eat and drink.
These eight symptoms commonly occur when you have the flu. You could get one or a combination of the symptoms but either way it means it’s time to rest and heal up since you got the flu.
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