How Long Does the Flu Last?

Together with the cold weather, fall and winter also beckons flu season, with many people coughing and sneezing wherever you turn. Flu, or influenza, affects around 5 percent to 20 percent of the American population per year, which translates to roughly 10.4 billion dollars of medical expenses annually.1 Aside from the medical expenses, influenza season also means missed schooldays and workdays.

If you’re currently battling a bout of flu, a couple of questions come to mind: How long does this usually last and what can you do to recover fast? This article will answer these questions, plus provide other helpful facts and tips to get you through flu season.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Flu symptoms usually appear one to four days after your exposure to the influenza virus. You’ll first start running a fever, which may sometimes be accompanied by chills. The symptoms typically get worse a few days or hours in. If you’re starting to feel sick and you’re quite sure that you’ve come across a person with the flu, here are some of the symptoms that you should be on the lookout for:2

  • Dry, chesty cough
  • Aching muscles and joint pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Fatigue and weakness

In rare cases, the flu may make you more susceptible to a number of complications, including viral or bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and sinus infections. People who are at risk of suffering from these complications are usually children, adults over 65 years of age, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women.3

If you experience shortness of breath, severe earache, bloody phlegm, or you start coughing up yellow, green or brown sputum, seek the advice of a health professional. This will ensure that you’re not suffering from…

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