The World of Pregnancy

How Long Does A Fever Last With The Flu?

Have you asked yourself how long does a fever last with the flu? Well, if you are trying to have a baby and you want to have a healthy pregnancy, you can never say you know too much.

How Long Does A Fever Last With The Flu

It`s been said that if well cared, flue lasts for 7 days, and with no treatment, it heals in a week.” Closer from truth are those that claim “a flu carried on your feet lasts longer.” Indeed, complete physical rest and diet are the most efficient methods to fight this disease, a natural remedy that needs to be adopted even from the start.

Flu, also known as influenza, is a disorder of the upper respiratory tract which starts suddenly with various signs, such as fever, muscle pains in various areas of the body, headache, decreased appetite, dry cough, sore throat or dry throat sensation. Flu isn`t the same as common cold; the flu symptoms are more severe and causes school or job absences more often than the common cold.

Most cases are healed without any incidents, but sometimes the disease can complicate with a bacterial infection like otitis, sinusitis or bronchitis. A proper home treatment can prevent the occurrence of these infections. In some cases, there may be more severe complications, pneumonia being the most frequent one. Patients with an increased risk for developing such complications and who require hospitalization are small children, adults over 65 years old and those with more severe medical problems.

Causes

The classic flu syndrome is caused by the flu virus. Experts classify the virus in 2 distinct types: type A and type B flu viruses, each of them including several subtypes or strains. These strains, although they are different than the original virus, still retain some of its characteristics.

Type A virus is responsible for annual cases that normally occur in late autumn or early winter.

The flu virus often suffers changes, so the development of the flu caused by a particular strain doesn`t offer immunity for the other strains.

New large-scale triggers generally follow changes, known as antigenic derivatives, in the virus. These outbreaks occur every 10 years. The disease worsens in people who make flu when antigenic derivatives occur in the virus.

Minor changes to the virus occur every year.

How Long Does A Fever Last With The Flu?

Most symptoms can start around 1 to 4 days (averagely, 2 days) when a person is exposed to flu. Fever and a few other symptoms may generally last up to 7 – 10 days, but the actual cough and states of weakness might last for 1 or 2 weeks, sometimes even more.

The symptoms of flu occur suddenly and often include:

  • Fever with values that range between 37.8° C and 40° C, but which can reach even 41.1° C at the onset of symptoms. Fever is usually continuous, but it can be intermittent as well. Its values can be lower in older adults than children and young adults.
  • Chills.
  • Muscle pain, often severe, especially in the back, arms or legs.
  • Headache.
  • Pain in the eyeball movement.
  • Fatigue, general sickness and decreased appetite.
  • Dry, unproductive cough, abnormal nasal discharge and sore throat or dry throat sensation.

These signs might go unnoticed in the early days of the disease when the other symptoms are more severe. As the fever decreases, these signs might become more obvious.

When fever is high, the other signs are generally more severe.

Specialized Consultation

The doctor should be contacted immediately if:

  • The infant of less than 3 months has a rectal temperature of 38° C or greater.
  • The mother suspects that the infant of less than 3 months has fever, but she cannot measure his temperature.
  • The child younger than 4 years has an extremely high fever (40.5° C) or even higher measured rectally.
  • The parent or his 4-year old child, or bigger, have an oral temperature of over 40° C.
  • The parent or his child breathe heavily, superficial, rapidly or present dyspnea (air thirst).
  • The parent or his child have severe headache or stiffness in the neck, or seems confused or difficult to wake.

It`s recommended to contact a doctor when:

  • The symptoms reappear have they disappeared in the first place.
  • Signs of Reye syndrome, such as sleepiness or state of confusion, occur at an interval between 3 and 7 days from the onset of the flu`s signs or other respiratory viral illness. Reye syndrome can be a very serious disease when children and teenagers are concerned.
  • There are signs of bacterial infection, such as otitis, bronchitis or pneumonia.
  • The flue develops in a person over 65 who was other health issues or in patients who are in chemotherapy for cancer.
  • The flu occurs in any person of any age who suffers of a long term respiratory disease, such as obstructive chronic bronchopneumopathy. – More info!
  • Among the signs, there`s fever of over 38.3° C, chills and productive cough.
  • Long term or high fever. Standards for fever values should be consulted for children of 3 or 4 years old and over. Still, it often happens in adults with flue to make high fever (up to 39.4° C) for 3 or 4 days. If a lot of persons in a community show similar symptoms and is the season of flu, perhaps the actual person may have flu and needs to consult a doctor. Still, if there are doubts, the doctor should be consulted anyway.

Investigations

Doctors can diagnose flu based on the symptoms in case that there are a lot of similar cases in the community or if the local health department has confirmed the outbreak of a flu epidemic. Routine tests for patients with typical symptoms of flu aren`t necessary.

Confirmatory or virus type tests can be important if:

  • The results may affect the therapeutic decision. However, in case of a confirmed flu epidemic, tests aren`t necessary if an antiviral medication is taken into consideration.
  • Additionally to flu-related symptoms, the patient shows other unusual symptoms that suggest another disease.
  • Health authorities haven`t identified other cases of flu in the same region.
  • Among tests there are blood tests (though are rarely used) and culture for identifying the virus. Because some cultures require a period between 24 and 48 hours for the occurrence of the results, they don`t help the doctor in his decision of prescribing an antiviral medication. Presently, there is a test for flu that offers results in 30 minutes. Although this test isn`t 100% accurate, it may be useful in taking a decision of using an antiviral medication.

Home Treatment

Proper home treatment can lead to relieving the symptoms. Also, an anti-flu treatment may decrease the risk of any complications occurring.

Home treatment may include:

  • Anti-flu drugs that are released without prescription. In most cases of flu, a simple analgesic (pain relieving drug) or antipyretic, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Decongestants and nasal sprays, which help reduce nasal secretions and relieve the sensations of pressure and pain from the swollen tissues of the face and behind the eardrum.
  • Drugs that lower fever, relieve headache and muscle pains, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Relieving the cough by administering liquids and antitussive drugs which are released without prescription.
  • General measures of self-care, like more sleep.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From The Flu?

No matter how harsh flu is, there are good news! Most people start to feel better in around 1 or 2 weeks. Many adults become contagious the next day after the signs appear, which actually makes it rather trickier for preventing them from spreading. People remain infected for up to 5 to 7 days after signs occur.

Image courtesy of Image Gallery: Severe flu
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