Skip to content

Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

Font Size

Influenza (Seasonal Flu) - What Happens

Influenza (flu) usually comes on suddenly. In many cases people can pinpoint the hour when symptoms started. Symptoms develop 1 to 4 days after you are infected, and they include:

  • Fever, which lasts for about 3 days. Fever is usually slightly lower on the 2nd and 3rd days but may last up to 8 days.
  • Cough, runny nose, and sore throat, which become more noticeable as fever and other symptoms decrease. These symptoms usually last 3 to 4 days after the fever goes down. A dry, hacking cough may linger for up to 10 days after other symptoms are gone.

Complete recovery may take 1 to 2 weeks or longer. Fatigue and weakness can last for several weeks.

Recommended Related to Cold & Flu

Flu Treatment With Antibiotics

Looking for an effective flu treatment and wondering if antibiotics will work? They won’t. These medications fight infections caused by bacteria, but the flu results from a virus. So does a cold, so they won’t help with that, either. In fact, taking them when you have a virus may do more harm than good. It can make you more likely to get an infection later that won’t respond to these meds at all, a condition called antibiotic resistance. That doesn’t mean you should avoid these drugs in other...

Read the Flu Treatment With Antibiotics article > >

Complications of influenza may develop in anyone, but they are much more likely in older adults and people who have other health problems, especially heart and lung diseases.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    hot toddy
    15 tips to help you feel better.
    man sneezing into elbow
    Do echinacea and vitamin C really help a cold?
     
    teen girl coughing
    Get a good night’s rest with these remedies.
    elder berry
    Eat these to fight colds, flu, and more.
     
    Natural Cold Flu Remedies Slideshow
    Slideshow
    cold weather
    VIDEO
     
    Allergy And Sinus Symptom Evaluator
    Article
    Boy holding ear
    Slideshow
     
    woman receiving vaccine shot
    Article
    woman with fever
    Article
     
    Waking up from sleep
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Slideshow