Early Flu Symptoms: Common Warning Signs—and How to React

Can you quickly pick out early flu symptoms—those first signs that crop up? Learn how to tell the difference between flu symptoms vs. cold symptoms in both children and adults.

early flu symptoms

Early flu symptoms often involve fatigue, muscle ache, and/or scratchy and sore throat.

© Yulia Tarasova | Dreamstime.com

Every year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population contracts the influenza virus, tens of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, it’s critically important to recognize the first symptoms of flu—and seek medical attention quickly. Waiting for the flu “to pass” can be dangerous, especially in children, older adults, or adults with respiratory or immune-compromised conditions.

3 Early Flu Symptoms

While there are various symptoms that plague anyone with flu, three in particular strike early in adults:

  1. Fatigue. A sudden feeling of overwhelming fatigue may appear before other symptoms. While fatigue is also a symptom of the common cold, it is usually more severe with the flu.
  2. Scratchy or sore throat. In the earliest stages of the flu, your throat may feel irritated, scratchy, or sore. You’ll notice this sensation more when trying to swallow foods or drinks.
  3. Muscle aches and joint pain. Body aches are also an early warning sign of the flu. Many flu sufferers describe the aches similar to the pain experienced following an intense workout.

Avoid The Flu And Common Colds

Protect yourself from the aches, pains, and discomfort of colds and the flu.

Get expert information and easy-to-follow advice in the FREE downloadable guide from University Health News, Cold & Flu Prevention: Common-sense remedies for preventing, fighting off, and treating the common cold and flu

Other Common Early Flu Symptoms

Aside from the three symptoms noted above, other early flu symptoms in both children and adults include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Eye pain and/or watery eyes
  • Warm, flushed, or red skin
  • Coughing or chest discomfort (chest has a “full” feeling)
  • Stuffy nose and/or sneezing

Uncommon Flu Symptoms

Stomach woes usually aren’t part of a flu illness. But some people with flu symptoms do experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Such gastrointestinal issues are more common in children than adults (see sidebar).

Flu Symptoms in Children

The flu virus causes many of the same symptoms in children as it does in adults. However, children can have other flu symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Remember, children are more susceptible to suffer severe complications from flu. Seek emergency care immediately if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not eating
  • Crying with no tears
  • Unresponsive; not waking up
  • Having a fever over 101 degrees or having a fever with a rash
  • Difficulty urinating (or, in babies, having diapers that are less wet)

Serious Symptoms of the Flu

Progressing beyond early and common flu symptoms, let’s consider those that should raise a red flag. If you’re suffering from the flu and experience any of the following serious symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (could signal pneumonia or other flu complication)
  • Pain or pressure in your chest or stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Dehydration symptoms. Dehydration is a dangerous complication of the flu. To avoid dehydration, drink water, herbal teas, or broth. Children can drink water or Pedialyte.

Flu Treatment

If you or a loved one have one or more flu symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Tamiflu is the preferred treatment for the flu; however, Tamiflu is effective only within the first 48 hours of contracting the influenza virus. If you wait to go to the doctor, Tamiflu may no longer be an option for you.

Also note that extreme weakness and fatigue will likely interfere with normal activities. Anyone with influenza should limit activity and allow the body to rest. It’s best to stay home, as venturing out to work or school causes the flu to spread to other people quickly. Plus, staying home and resting will strengthen your immune system, allowing your body to better fight the flu virus. (See also “How Long Does the Flu Last?“)

Aside from taking Tamiflu, the best way to mitigate the effects of flu symptoms is to take measures to decrease the symptoms. For example, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) to fight fever as well as body aches and pains. You also can gargle with a mixture of warm water, salt, and baking soda to alleviate sore throat, or try drinking warm herbal teas.

For coughing, stuffy nose, or sneezing, over-the-counter medications and natural remedies such as Mullein supplements are available. (See also our post Acute Bronchitis: 7 Hacks for Relieving a Chest Cold.)

Lastly, try utilizing one or more natural flu remedies listed here. You can also try a product called Boiron Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy that has been found to help alleviate flu-like symptoms. Another product, Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Relief, has been found beneficial in naturally relieving both cold and flu symptoms.

Remember, the flu is nothing to take lightly! If you or a loved one is suffering from influenza, take actions immediately to reduce the intensity and duration of your symptoms.


SOURCES & RESOURCES

cold vs allergies

When it comes to the common cold vs. allergies, symptoms can overlap, leading to confusion.

For more information on cold and flu symptoms, treatment, and prevention, please visit these posts:


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm
[2] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm

Anchor
Comments
  • MuslimMummy

    Thank you so much Shauna!! have a nice day

Leave a Reply

×
Enter Your Log In Credentials
This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×
×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps people live more sustainable, self-reliant lives, with feature stories on tending the garden, managing the homestead, raising healthy livestock and more!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

×

Please Log In

You are trying to access subscribers-only content. If you are a subscriber, use the form below to log in.

Subscribers will have unlimited access to the magazine that helps the small-scale poultry enthusiast raise healthy, happy, productive flocks for eggs, meat or fun - from the countryside to the urban homestead!

This setting should only be used on your home or work computer.

Send this to a friend

Hi,
I thought you might be interested in this article on https://universityhealthnews.com: Early Flu Symptoms: Common Warning Signs—and How to React

-- Read the story at https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/eyes-ears-nose-throat/early-flu-symptoms-common-warning-signs/