Symptoms of the flu and what you can do

Influenza generally produces the following miserable symptoms, which often come on very suddenly and can last a week or more, according to theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Fever

• Chills

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle or body aches

• Headaches

• Fatigue

• Vomiting or diarrhea for some (this is more common in children)

If the flu is caught within the first few days, an antiviral medicine like Tamiflu may help cut short the illness slightly. Otherwise, there is little a person can do besides wait it out.

Do the things your mother told you to do, said Dr. Daniel Dunham, general internist at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. That is: Drink plenty of fluids, don't smoke or drink alcohol, get rest.

And don't try to work through the flu, as you will just delay your own recovery and possibly infect your co-workers and anybody else around you. Dr. Kenneth Alexander of Comer Children's Hospital at University of Chicago Medicine suggested staying home at least 48 hours after the fever subsides.

If you feel you are becoming sick again after having improved, call your doctor. Influenza renders a person vulnerable to other serious infections, including pneumonia.

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