How do I know if I have the Flu or Influenza?

by | Ask The Intern

What you need to know about the Flu or Influenza

The flu or Influenza is a type of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection also known as URI and is caused by a viral illness that is frequently caused by Influenza. Typically it starts with a sore throat that lasts about 3 days, with a fever, body aches, fatigue, runny/stuffy nose, headache and cough. You can to be treated based on you signs and symptoms by telemedicine for this condition in most cases unless you have other medical problem (comorbidities) like diabetes, stroke, cancer, chemotherapy or the like. Do your symptoms feel like the signs and symptoms you had with prior upper respiratory tract infections? Many times you can be treated based on you signs and symptoms, if you answer a few questions. Let’s review these.

What are the symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection?

Common symptoms of URI include:

    • Fever/chills (not everyone with the Flu will have a fever)
    • cough
    • body aches and fatigue
    • sore throat
    • runny or stuffy nose
    • headache
    • chills
    • fatigue
    • diarrhea and vomiting, not usually but can occur

How did I get Influenza or the Flu?

Influenza is commonly a viral contagious infection of your upper respiratory tract.  This includes the nose, throat, mouth, pharynx, larynx, and bronchi. It is also known as the common cold. Other types of URIs include sinusitis, pharyngitis, epiglottitis, and tracheobronchitis. Some patients have risk factors for URI like close contact with children (daycares, schools), smoking, asthma, allergies, immune disorders or other chronic illness (cystic fibrosis).

How can I Get You Well Fast, Right?

The Doctor can decide to prescribe antiviral drugs for the flu. ANTIVIRAL DRUGS along with medications to help your other symptoms can MAKE YOU BETTER FASTER. These antiviral drugs can also prevent serious complication. If you want to be treated with antiviral medications, it is important to contact your Doctor with you first notice the flu symptoms coming on. Telemedicine is a good way to get these medications started quickly. In most cases the antiviral medications need to be started in the first 48 to 72 hours. Doctors treat Influenza when it is determined to be necessary. Antibiotics are not needed for the Flu, but your doctor can decide if you need antiviral medications after an assessment. Antibiotics are not needed for many URI’s, like the common cold or influenza which are commonly viral. Telemedicine can help you decide what treatments might be best and if you need an antiviral medication. It is often best to follow along with you over a few days journey with your illness and seeing how it goes with some home remedies first. Yes, you might need an antibiotic later in the illness.


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