Respiratory influenza is a communicable viral illness that affects more than 40 million Americans each year. Although it can make anyone miserable, children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems are most vulnerable. If left untreated, the flu can develop into viral pneumonia. Knowing the symptoms helps prepare sufferers for an enforced week or so of bed rest and plenty of fluids.
Sufferers experience a sudden four to five degree rise in body temperature (sometimes spiking as high as 106 degrees Fahrenheit in children) that is often accompanied by violent chills.
Severe muscle aches and pains are often centered on the neck and shoulders.
Severe, disorienting headaches along the side of the head and temples are sometimes accompanied by nausea or sensitivity to light.
Although sufferers may not have a runny nose (that symptom comes with other viruses that may follow), they do often suffer repeated bouts of sneezing.
The raw sore throat that often accompanies the flu should be closely monitored because it may also be due to other viruses, be the sign of a sinus condition overshadowed by the misery of the flu or even merit a test for a "strep" infection.
Influenza brings a violent, non-productive cough that can last for a week or more after the fever and aches subside.
Plumb Worn Out
High fever, muscle strain and dehydration often lead to fatigue and exhaustion---and susceptibility to other viruses---that lasts for weeks.