6 Early Flu Symptoms
With flu season here, protecting yourself from nasty respiratory viruses should be a top priority. Flu viruses can be shared from coughing and sneezing, so detecting early symptoms of the flu not only helps prevent the spread of the virus, but you may also be able to catch and treat the illness before it gets worse.
Sudden or Excessive Fatigue
The days are getting shorter and reduced sunlight might make you tired earlier than before. Sudden, excessive fatigue is one of the earliest signs of the flu, and is often a warning before other related symptoms appear. If you notice sudden, extreme weakness and tiredness that interferes with normal everyday life, your body may be preparing to fight the flu.
Body Aches & Chills
Body aches and chills are other notable distinctions between early flu and cold symptoms. When you’re coming down with the flu, body aches can occur anywhere in the body, especially the head and legs. Chills can accompany these aches simultaneously or within hours of feeling the pain. The flu often causes chills before a fever develops.
A persistent cough is early indication of illness and it may be a warning sign of the flu. Over the course of the virus you might cough up phlegm or mucus, but this is rare in the early stages of the flu. Call a doctor if you notice colored phlegm. Always cover your mouth when you cough to prevent spreading the infection.
Flu-related cough can quickly lead to a sore throat. Some viruses, however, can actually cause a swollen throat without a cough. In the earliest stages of the flu, your throat may feel scratchy and irritated. You may also feel a strange sensation when you swallow food or drinks. Stock up on tea, soups, and water to soothe any discomfort.
Fever is a sign that your body is trying to fight off an infection. Flu-related fevers are typically 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. While a fever is a common symptom in early flu stages, not everyone with the flu will have a fever. Also you might experience chills with or without fever while the virus runs its course. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both effective fever-reducers, but do not cure the virus.
Early flu symptoms can also extend below the head, throat, and chest. Some forms of the flu can cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting. According to the CDC, these symptoms are more common in children, so make sure your child is staying hydrated.