It’s true, having the flu is not fun! When you first get the flu,
you probably don’t even know that you have it, or that you can spread
it. You may also feel like you’re sick for longer than usual, so
we are going to give you the day-by-day timeline of what to expect when
you get sick. We also have some tips on how to speed up your recovery,
and symptoms of the Flu vs. COVID-19.
So how long does the flu really last? Well, some would answer that question
with “Too long!” But the truth is, the flu lasts from three
to seven days, according to the
CDC. If you are normally healthy, the flu can be short lived, but your cough
and tiredness may stick around for two weeks.
STAGES OF THE FLU
On day zero, you probably won’t know that you have the flu, but you
ARE contagious at this time. You will be able to go on with your day and
normal activities without even knowing that you are sick. You most likely
contracted it from someone within the last 48 hours.
On day one, you will start feeling sick! And you may feel VERY sick for
the next 3 days. Unlike the cold, where you slowly start to feel symptoms,
the flu will hit you all at the same time. Here are some symptoms that
you should look out for:
- Dry Cough
- Sore Throat
- Muscle Pain
You will quickly feel exhausted while doing your normal activities and
begin to run a high fever.
The worst days of the flu are over. You will start to notice your fever
is going down and less achiness in your muscles, but a cough and sore
throat are normal at this point. You will still feel very tired, and may
have some chest discomfort, making you want to rest in bed all day.
On day 5, you should start to see the end of this illness. If a fever occurs
or you feel a lot worse, call your doctor. “Please come in to see
us if you have not started to feel better after Day 5,” says Tiffany
Carter, PA-C “Another infection may have come up, like bronchitis
or pneumonia, which requires antibiotics and we will be able to assess
you and provide the correct treatment that you need to get healthy again.”
Day 6 and Beyond
Your symptoms should start disappearing, but you may still have a cough
and feel tired for the next 2 weeks. That’s normal! Other than that,
you should start to feel like you are on the other end of this sickness.
Everyone experiences the Flu in different ways. Some patients will have
chest discomfort and cough, while others will show symptoms of a stuffy
nose, sweating, chills, nausea and other symptoms. It’s important
that you stay hydrated and rest to help reduce your symptoms.
FLU RECOVERY TIPS
REST – Staying at home, away from others and resting is the most important
way to recover from the Flu. You need to focus any of the energy you have
left on getting better. Which means, you may need to order take-out, get
a friend to run by the pharmacy for you and even cancel any events coming
up on your calendar.
STAY HYDRATED – Drink plenty of fluids! This is key to thinning mucus and feeling
better, FASTER! Being dehydrated can lead to headaches and more body aches,
so make sure you are drinking lots of water, tea and broths. Electrolyte
drinks will help with vomiting.
WASH YOUR HANDS – This one may be an obvious one, but if you live with others it’s
important that you don’t spread the infection to them. Stay in one
room and wash your hands after every sneeze, blowing your nose or touching
USE A HUMIDIFIER – If you are congested and are having a hard time sleeping, a humidifier
is an easy way to loosen mucus and help you breathe easier. Make sure
you are constantly changing the water to avoid mold from growing in the
Flu vs. COVID-19
Now that Flu season is upon us, it’s important to be able to tell
the difference between Flu and COVID. They both spread differently and
affect people differently depending on the person and their health. COVID-19
is more contagious and spreads more quickly than the flu. It also takes
longer to experience COVID-19 symptoms than Flu symptoms.
Some other differences are:
COVID symptoms appear
2-14 days after exposure
- COVID is often accompanied by loss of smell and taste
Flu symptoms will show up
1-4 days after exposure
- Flu can be treated with antiviral drugs
Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms, visit our
WHO IS AT RISK FOR THE FLU
The flu can come with complications like bronchitis and pneumonia. These
infections can lead to being in the hospital for a long period of time,
or even death, if it is left untreated. The flu can also lead to secondary
infections like dehydration, acute lung injury, septic shock, respiratory
failure and multi – organ failure.
Those who are at a higher risk for the flu potentially turning deadly are:
- Pregnant Women
- People over the age of 65
- Kids under five years old
- Individuals with chronic health issues
The flu strain changes every year, and that is why we recommend that you
come in each year to get a new shot and have immunity against the current
Schedule an appointment at any of our clinics today and protect yourself from the Flu!