If you're unlucky enough to get the flu, it can feel as if it's lasting forever. But for most otherwise healthy adults, it will be gone in 1 or 2 weeks. Many factors can affect how quickly you recover, including your age and other health conditions. If complications set in, you'll be out of commission even longer.
The Usual Time Frame
Symptoms typically begin 1 to 4 days after you've been infected with the flu. According to Flu.gov, you're contagious for about a week, beginning about a day before your symptoms develop. Chills and fever are often the first symptoms to appear, with a fever of 102 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius) being common. Aches, pains, headaches and fatigue are other early symptoms that can help distinguish influenza from a simple cold. Respiratory symptoms are also common, beginning with a sore throat and dry cough. Sometimes the cough worsens and becomes productive. Flu symptoms typically last a few days and then gradually improve: In a week or 2, most people are feeling well again. Some people, especially those with asthma, might experience a lingering cough and mild wheezing for up to 8 weeks.
When to See a Doctor
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most otherwise healthy adults don't need to see the doctor when they have the flu. If you are an older adult, however, or you have another health condition that puts you at high risk for complications, such as asthma, diabetes or congestive heart failure, contact your doctor if you suspect you have the flu. Get medical attention right away if your symptoms persist longer than expected or get worse or if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, dehydration, dizziness or confusion.
- Photo Credit Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images
How Long Is Stomach Flu Contagious?
The contagious period for stomach flu varies depending on the virus that is causing your symptoms. Stomach flu is not really influenza...
How Long Does Stomach Flu Last?
The stomach flu occurs when a viral infection inhabits the stomach and intestine. Another name for it is “viral gastroenteritis.”
How Long Does the Flu Virus Live on Surfaces?
Since 1945, the three strains of influenza viruses considered the strongest have been the ingredients of that year's flu vaccine. Recommended for...
How Long Does the Flu Virus Live Outside the Body?
Millions of people get sick from the flu virus each year because it can easily be spread from one person to another....
How Long Does Food Poisoning Last?
Food poisoning occurs when you eat contaminated food. Food poisoning most often is a result of eating improperly cooked meats and spoiled...
How Long Does Asthmatic Bronchitis Last?
According to public health website Kids Health, bronchitis is a condition in which the mucous membrane lining the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed....
How Long Does It Take to Get over the Flu?
The flu, or "influenza virus infection," is a highly contagious airborne disease. It can be lethal, especially in weak individuals. In the...
How Long Do Side Effects of The Flu Mist Vaccine Last?
According to the FluMist website, "Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease that affects between 5% and 20% of the U.S. population...
How to Get the Stomach Flu
Understanding how people get the stomach flu can help you avoid exposure. The stomach flu is actually a virus in the small...
How Long Does a Cold Last?
A common cold, with the sniffles and a sore throat, will typically last at least five days if the immune system is...
How Long Can The Flu Last?
The flu can take anywhere from one to three weeks to present symptoms, and these symptoms usually last anywhere from seven days...