How to spot flu symptoms

During this fierce and deadly flu season, it's important to recognize the symptoms that will tell you whether you hav...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 12:47 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 12:47 PM

During this fierce and deadly flu season, it's important to recognize the symptoms that will tell you whether you have the nasty infection -- or just a common cold.

People with the flu often experience fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and/or fatigue, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some -- more commonly children -- may also have vomiting and/or diarrhea.

There are ways to tell the difference between flu symptoms and those typical of a cold

Prevention is key, especially for groups that may be particularly susceptible

Especially in the winter months, it's easy to mix up cold and flu symptoms.

Flu or cold?

According to Dr. Rachael Lee, assistant professor in the University of Alabama-Birmingham's Division of Infectious Diseases, there are certain ways to tell the difference. "Colds are typically around your nose and face, and you have a sore throat," she said.

"Your symptoms are more gradual in onset, and you may have a low-grade fever but not high fevers. It can also cause cough but does not have shortness of breath."

As for the flu, "it is pretty much all of a sudden: You will have fevers, body aches, sore throat, coughs, and then you can have other symptoms as well, such as shortness of breath. You can feel dehydrated, meaning you may be dizzy, and you may be a little bit confused."

Extra precautions

Those who are at higher risk for developing flu-related complications should take extra precautions when they feel symptoms coming on.

The CDC says these include children under 5 years old, particularly those under 2. Also at high risk are adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of long-term care facilities and people with medical conditions including weakened immune systems, asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

Individuals with minor flu or flu-like symptoms should refrain from going to the emergency room and instead call their primary health care providers, to avoid overstressing community resources.

Be prepared to wait

"For all patients, first and foremost, you should call your health care provider, because you may be able to get (the antiviral medication) Tamiflu, and the earlier you get Tamiflu, the more likely your symptoms will go away faster," Lee said. "Do not wait with your symptoms. It is OK to bug us, as health care providers, because we are here to help."

Those who do need to visit an emergency department, however, should be prepared for a long wait time.

"You should seek care in the emergency department when you are feeling dehydrated, you are not keeping any fluids down, as well as if you are feeling really short of breath and cannot catch your air," Lee said.

Dr. Bernard Camins, also an associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, said flu prevention should be the focus for the public.

Prevention key to protection

The most important thing is prevention: avoiding anyone who is sick, if possible, Camins said.

"This includes avoiding public areas where they could get infected, staying away from family or friends who may be sick and not allowing sick individuals into their homes. They also need to practice proactive and frequent hand hygiene. Prevention is the key."

To protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu in the first place, the University of Alabama-Birmingham suggests that you get the flu vaccine if you are 6 months or older, cover your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands frequently.

You should also clean your living and work areas, avoid crowds where possible, stay home from work or school if you are sick and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

According to Lee, the vast majority of people who "get rest and drink fluids and take Tamiflu ... will get over your symptoms pretty quickly."

West Lafayette
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 85°
Kokomo
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 84°
Rensselaer
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 79°
Fowler
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 79°
Williamsport
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Crawfordsville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 82°
Delphi
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 79°
Monticello
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 79°
Logansport
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
Howard56557
LaPorte56326
Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
Noble46928
LaGrange4677
Hancock44035
Boone43743
Delaware43150
Shelby42325
Floyd37144
Morgan32731
Montgomery29320
Grant29126
Clinton2882
Monroe27628
Dubois2666
White26010
Henry25815
Decatur24932
Lawrence24225
Vigo2318
Dearborn22823
Harrison21222
Warrick21229
Greene18532
Miami1822
Jennings17411
Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
Scott1607
Daviess14216
Orange13623
Wayne1366
Steuben1282
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Ripley1157
Jasper1142
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette987
Newton9810
Starke923
Whitley905
Randolph784
Huntington742
Jefferson722
Wells711
Fulton691
Jay680
Washington681
Gibson672
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush563
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown381
Posey380
Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events