Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat. But colds usually develop slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. And although a cold can be a nuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever over 100 F (38 C)
- Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
- Chills and sweats
- Dry cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
When to see a doctor
Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often don't need to see a doctor.
If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away. Taking antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after you first notice symptoms may reduce the length of your illness and help prevent more-serious problems.
Oct. 21, 2014
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention and control of seasonal influenza with vaccines. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2013-2014. MMWR. 2013;62:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6207a1.htm?s_cid=rr6207a1_w. Accessed June 15, 2014.
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- CDC recommendations for influenza antiviral medications remain unchanged. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/media/haveyouheard/stories/Influenza_antiviral2.html. Accessed June 19, 2014.
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