What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Flu?

Jul 01, 2021

One of the most common health issues in ERs near you is the flu. It affects thousands of people, some more severely impacted than others. The flu viruses keep changing over time, which is why medical exerts stress on the need for annual vaccination for every person, including children above the age of 6 months. The vaccination helps your body create antibodies that will fight the viruses, reducing the possibility of getting infected. This is also the reason why you must visit your doctor for flu-like symptoms, especially when they are severe. The stakes are higher now, given the COVID-19 pandemic that also compromises the respiratory system and your overall immune system.

What Is the Flu?

It is also called Influenza. It is a condition that features a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system. The viral infection targets different parts of your respiratory system, including the nose, throat, and lungs. Depending on which part of your respiratory system is affected, the symptoms will differ. The severity thereof will also be different. However, in most cases, the flu resolves on its own, without the need for you to visit an ER near you.

Still, there are some flu cases that are very complicated and can even be threatening to your life. Our 24/7 flu emergency clinics, therefore, are open to patients with a higher risk of severe flu infections, including the following:

  1. Elderly people – covering adults beyond the age of 60
  2. Infants and toddlers – all kids below the age of 5
  3. Pregnant women – or even mothers in the postpartum recovery period
  4. Patients with other chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, asthma, to mention a few

What Causes Influenza?

The viruses associated with influenza change constantly. These changes can make it unpredictable to determine conclusively the cause of the flu. Technically, the virus travels through air droplets from one person to another. This means that if you are around someone who is infected with the flu, talking, sneezing, or coughing may expose you to these viruses. The viruses are transferred mostly through inhalation. However, the viruses can still be passed through objects when you touch and pick up the germs thereof.

Still, not everyone infected with the flu can be contagious. Usually, the viruses are transferable from patients who get infected within the first 5 days of the infection as the symptoms appear.

Common Signs and Symptoms of the Flu

Although there are different levels of severity for patients in ERs for flu, many symptoms of the flu are shared. They include the following:

  1. Runny nose
  2. Headaches
  3. Fever and body chills
  4. Acute muscle pains
  5. Sore throat
  6. Dry and persistent cough
  7. Vomiting and diarrhea
  8. Fatigue and general body weakness
  9. Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing properly through the nasal cavity

Even though these symptoms should be enough to indicate a viral infection, they may not always be because of the flu. Once you seek flu treatment near you, you will learn that these symptoms can sometimes be present for the common cold, among other health issues. This is why you must not rely on self-prescribed over-the-counter medication. Instead, consult a doctor near you to avoid visiting emergency care for flu when the symptoms are aggressive and life-threatening.

Risks and Complications with the Flu

When the symptoms are not as severe, the flu can be managed at home and resolve on its own. However, in some instances, the symptoms can escalate and wreak havoc on your health. Some of the signals you should look out for regarding complications with the flu include the following:

  1. A significant difficulty in breathing
  2. Chest pains – the can be sharp piercing pains or dull pains, often noticed when you cough
  3. Prolonged vomiting and diarrhea
  4. Dehydration
  5. Recurrent dizziness
  6. Seizures

If you experience such-like symptoms, you must talk to a doctor immediately. If not, the severity of these symptoms may result in other respiratory complications like pneumonia, asthma flare-ups, bronchitis, to mention a few. You must be especially vigilant about seeking treatment if you are a high-risk patient.