This time of year is never fun when it comes to dealing with seasonal viruses. As if the dreary weather wasn't enough to dampen your spirits, the influenza (flu) virus decides to visit your family. It's all because someone forgot to wash their hands, and now your home is a cacophony of sneezes, coughs, and cries. This year in particular, however, it seems like the flu is spreading farther and hitting more severely than in previous years. So are there any signs you can look out for to catch and treat the virus? As it turns out, the 2018 flu symptoms are not only inconvenient, but really, really dangerous.
In addition to the typical high fever and body aches, some of the 2018 flu symptoms include respiratory issues, diarrhea, and pain — everywhere. The majority of people who have fallen victim to the flu this year are specifically catching the H3N2 virus. If you've managed to stay clear out of the virus's wrath, lucky you, but bear in mind that it's still spreading, so don't consider yourself in the clear yet. And if you're still due for a flu shot, there's still time to get one, though you should act fast. Of course those who think they're safe (for whatever reason), it's wise to take take every extra precaution to avoid catching the dreaded bug.
If you think you or someone in your family has fallen victim of the 2018 flu, here are the symptoms that could affirm your suspicions. Consider this a green light that you should make an appointment with a doctor STAT.
1. High Fever
"The symptoms of flu can come on quickly," Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan said in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The time from infection to when symptoms begin is an average of about two days." One of the first and most noticeable signs of the flu is a high fever, as Jernigan said. However, be careful not to rely solely on high temperatures as a flu indicator.
Physician Dr. James Brown tells Romper, "we've had cases where the person didn't have a fever, yet they tested positive for the flu virus." Brown advises that people should look out for a combination of symptoms, not just the traditional fever.
2. Respiratory Issues
Another classic sign that you have the flu has to do with how you breathe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed "respiratory symptoms, such as cough and runny nose" as symptoms of the H3N2 virus. Whether it's affecting your nasal passages or airway, respiratory issues can definitely occur during this year's flu.
3. Body Aches
Sometimes it's difficult to know if what you're feeling is just a bug or if it's the real thing. They certainly share similar symptoms, but certain combinations are specific to the H3N2 influenza virus. "Don't mistake flu symptoms for those of a common cold," pediatrician Dr. Randy Bergen told the Chicago Tribune. "The hallmarks of flu are body aches that accompany cough and congestion," Bergen said. When you experience such a terrible trifecta of symptoms, you know it's more than just a cold.
4. Sore Throat
Dr. Jernigan also noted that a sore throat is a symptom of this year's flu. In addition to the respiratory issues mentioned above, the inflammation and irritation of the throat is likely to accompany any current flu symptoms. Be careful not to brush off your sore throat this time — it can be a key sign that something serious is brewing.
Aside from the usual sniffles, this year's flu is hitting hard in both the runny and stopped up nose categories. Bergen told the Chicago Tribune that congestion is a symptom of the flu. Additionally, "if you feel as if you're having trouble breathing, check with your doctor," Bergen cautioned. You don't want to ignore these symptoms and let them develop into something more serious.
As it turns out, it's not just your head, nose, and throat that are affected by the H3N2 influenza virus. According to the CDC, this year's flu affects the digestive system with," symptoms such as nausea and vomiting." Some people may feel queasy before any of the more traditional symptoms, like high fever, show up. So make sure to monitor the health of your body as a whole.
7. Pain Everywhere
Have you been feeling sore lately? Is it difficult to shake the tension in your head? Those symptoms might be signs that the 2018 influenza is pummeling your immune system. All over body pain, such as, "muscle aches and headaches," are common 2018 flu symptoms, as Jernigan said in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. One way to know if your aches and pains are the real deal is if they don't respond to over the counter medicines.
The low temperature, dismal landscape, and limited sunlight can leave anybody feeling winter weary. But the seasonal vibes may not be to blame if you've been extremely tired lately. Jernigan also advised that people keep an eye on their energy levels since feeling fatigued and lethargic are symptoms of the flu. There's no shortcut for the tried and true remedy of getting an ample amount of rest.
As if the nausea and vomiting weren't rough enough, this year's flu can also take a serious toll on your toilet in other ways. According to the CDC, your digestive system is unfortunately affected on both ends when it comes to H3N2. Frequent bowel movements, irritated stomach, and diarrhea are signs of the flu. Once you have your symptoms under control and manageable, do your best to stay hydrated since the flu drains your digestive system.
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