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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Influenza (Seasonal Flu) - Symptoms

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

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°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.

Some people get infected with the flu virus but do not have any symptoms.

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Flu Survival Kit: A Self-Care Kit for Your Home

If you're one of those people who brag, come flu season, that you "never, ever get sick," be aware: The odds may catch up to you. Every year, about 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get influenza, according to estimates from the CDC. Taking certain antiviral drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of the flu, but that involves recognizing you have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor, and going to the pharmacist before the 48 hours is up. Just in case your number...

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

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

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    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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