You can also catch flu by touching an infected person, for instance, shaking hands. Adults are contagious 1-2 days before getting symptoms and up to 7 days after becoming ill. This means that you can spread the influenza virus before you even know you are infected.
In this article, we explain the symptoms of flu, how it is treated, how it differs from a cold, and the best ways to prevent flu occurring.
Confusing flu with a bad cold is common. Flu and cold symptoms may both include a runny/blocked nose, sore throat, and cough.
To help you tell them apart, below are some symptoms of flu that are different from a heavy cold:
cold sweats and shivers
aching joints and limbs
fatigue, feeling exhausted
There may also be gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; these are much more common among children than adults.
Normally, symptoms linger for about 1 week. However, the feeling of tiredness and gloom can continue for several weeks.
As flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot help, unless the flu has led to another illness caused by bacteria. Antivirals, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), may be prescribed in some circumstances.
Painkillers can alleviate some of the symptoms, such as headache and body pains. Various painkillers are available to purchase online. It is important to compare different products, and only take them under the advice of a medical professional.