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Influenza (Seasonal Flu) - Symptoms

The symptoms of influenza (flu) appear suddenly and often include:

  • Fever of 100°F (37.8°C) to 104°F (40°C), which can reach 106°F (41°C) when symptoms first develop. Fever is usually continuous, but it may come and go. Fever may be lower in older adults than in children and younger adults. When fever is high, other symptoms usually are more severe.
  • Body aches and muscle pain (often severe), commonly in the back, arms, or legs.
  • Headache.
  • Pain when you move your eyes.
  • Fatigue, a general feeling of sickness (malaise), and loss of appetite.
  • A dry cough, runny nose, and dry or sore throat. You may not notice these during the first few days of the illness when other symptoms are more severe. As your fever goes away, these symptoms may become more evident.

Influenza usually does not cause symptoms in the stomach or intestines, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Antibiotics for the Flu?

Ask any doctor if you should take antibiotics for the flu, and you’ll get a weary shake of the head and a resounding no.  “Viral infections like the flu aren’t affected by antibiotics,” says William Schaffner, MD, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine in Nashville.  “You might as well take a placebo.” Instead, antiviral medication can be used to treat the viral infections like the flu. But that is a different type of medicine than antibiotics...

Read the Antibiotics for the Flu? article > >

Other conditions have symptoms similar to the flu, such as the common cold, bacterial infections, and infectious mononucleosis.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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