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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

Specifically for Kids: Preventing and Treating Flu in Children

It’s a fact of parenting life: Kids equal germs. They share toys, put things in their mouths, and rub their faces with grubby little hands. During the fall and winter, schools, day care centers, and other places where children gather act as incubators for colds and the flu. So flu prevention for children is much more complicated than it is for adults. What can you do to help make sure little Olivia or Ethan doesn’t bring home a nice big dose of the flu with this week’s art project? Try these...

Read the Specifically for Kids: Preventing and Treating Flu in Children 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: January 31, 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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