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  • Flu Symptoms: How to Figure Out if You Have the Flu or Stomach Flu?

    Learn more about the flu symptoms and how they differ from gastrointestinal flu.

    January 5, 2015 | Related:


    Learn more about the flu symptoms and how they differ from gastrointestinal flu.

    Flu Symptoms: How to Figure Out if You Have the Flu or Stomach Flu?

    The number of cases of the flu is on the rise. Each time rainy or cold season is here, this disease spreads around the country.

    Any person can get the virus and suffer from flu symptoms.

    The flu and common cold are different, even though they have similar symptoms. To confirm your condition, you must consult your healthcare provider.

    What are the flu symptoms you must know of?

    One of the flu symptoms that’s too obvious is having high fever. If you feel feverish even though you don’t have a fever, then it’s the flu virus that’s causing the symptom.

    Another flu symptom you must watch out for is cough. It’s usually accompanied by sore throat.

    Then, there’s the runny or stuffy nose that you have to deal with as part of the flu virus attack.

    Other symptoms of the flu will include chills, headaches, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

    How to tell whether your flu symptoms are caused by the flu virus?

    It’s difficult to tell because of its similar symptoms. Because of that, it’s essential that you check with your physician and he/she will perform a series of tests to determine whether or not you have the flu.

    Generally, the flu symptoms are worse than common colds. With the flu virus, the symptoms, like fever and cough, are more intense. Patients with common cold are more likely to suffer from runny nose.

    Since the flu virus can be treated through home remedies, you don’t need to seek emergency medical attention.

    However, you need to go to the emergency when your flu symptoms are accompanied with difficulty breathing and/or blue discoloration of your lips.

    You also need immediate medical attention when you’re experiencing sudden dizziness, confusion and seizures. Severe vomiting should be addressed immediately as it can lead to a more serious condition.

    Is the flu the same as gastroentirits?

    It’s not. The gastrointestinal flu may have the same symptoms as the flu but the two are different. The former is caused by a bacterium, a virus or a parasite.

    Gastroenteritis attacks your intestines, rather than your respiratory system. The gastrointestinal flu symptoms will include the following:

    • Watery stool
    • Abdominal cramps
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Occasional headache
    • Fever but not high enough compared to the flu symptom

    The symptoms may appear within one to three days. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get confused with viral diarrhea and diarrhea that’s been caused by bacteria.

    To alleviate the gastrointestinal flu symptoms, you must take lots of fluid. This is because the danger of this condition is dehydration. If your diarrhea is persistent for a few days, you’ll lose more fluids. Thus, it’s essential to keep yourself hydrated.

    But don’t just take any fluid. Although it’s okay to drink water, it may not be enough. Instead, drink something that replaces electrolytes.

    Avoid drinking milk as it can make your gastrointestinal flu symptoms worse. This is especially true for kids. You must also avoid caffeinated drinks and beverages that are acidic, like orange juice.

    The symptoms won’t go away when you take OTC meds. Bear in mind that it’s caused by a virus so taking in medicines won’t necessarily help. The best way to remedy the symptoms is to let the time heal it.

    However, if you have fever, you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce your temperature. If you don’t have it, then you just need to stick with drinking lots of fluids. It’s your first-line of defense against the symptoms of gastrointestinal flu.


    If your symptoms get worse, you must see your doctor. This is especially true if you’re no longer urinating or experiencing dry mouth with fever that’s over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

    How long flu symptoms last?

    After getting infected, you’ll feel ill within a few days. The flu symptoms will peak after three days. Once they’ve reached their peak, you should start to feel a lot better.

    You’re infectious before or after a day your symptoms start. It’ll remain this way for five to six days. If you have weaker immune system, you’ll remain infectious or be able to pass the flu virus to others for longer period of time.

    The flu symptoms of elderly people will last longer. What’s worse is that they tend to develop chest infection and other serious complications. With that being said, it’s imperative to treat the symptoms before they get worse.

    How to prevent flu symptoms and the virus?

    Get an annual flu shot or vaccine. This is especially beneficial if you have serious medical condition, like heart and respiratory disease.

    To stop spreading the germs, you should wash your hands often. Or you can rub your hand using alcohol.

    You must also avoid having close contact with sick people as much as you can.

    If you can’t, then you must try to practice good health habits, like getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly and managing your stress.

    Eating healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, is also a must to prevent flu symptoms.

    Don’t forget to drink lots of fluids.

    Use a tissue and not a handkerchief when you cough or sneeze. Throw that tissue in the trash can after using it.

    To avoid spreading the germs, you must stay home for a day or two when you feel like you’re having the flu. Better yet, stay home while you’re still sick. This is to make sure that you’re not going to infect someone with your flu virus.

    Flu while pregnant

    Flu Symptoms: How to Figure Out if You Have the Flu or Stomach Flu?

    I’m pregnant with fever. Now what?

    As much as possible, you must avoid getting the flu virus while you’re pregnant. Your immune system during this time is vulnerable and weak. Thus, it can easily get serious and be complicated. It may also lead to pneumonia.

    You may also experience problems later on, like premature labor and delivery.

    But, just because you have flu symptoms while pregnant doesn’t mean you’ll develop serious complications. There are several moms-to-be out there who get the flu virus without experiencing complications. It’s all just a matter of strengthening your immune system while you’re pregnant.

    Is it safe to get flu shot when pregnant?

    The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women, as well as nursing mothers. It’s not been known to cause harm to unborn child or pregnant women.

    But it’s not only you who needs to get a flu shot. Rather, you must also ask those people who care for your baby when he/she gets out of your womb. Every person who comes in contact with your baby must have a flu vaccine.

    On the other hand, flu symptoms may still develop even if you’d been vaccinated. You must consult your physician about it so you’ll receive proper medicine to treat the flu virus and lessen your condition to get serious.

    Bear in mind that having flu symptoms while pregnant will increase the chances of your baby with birth defects. If you’re having fever, you should consider taking acetaminiophen or call your doctor immediately.

    Treating flu symptoms while pregnant

    As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to treat the fever as soon as it arises. The recommended treatment is acetaminophen. However, you can stay away from it by treating your flu symptoms through natural methods. Like, drinking lots of fluids.

    Is true that the flu shot this year is less effective?

    According to the CDC, this flu season is quite different because the current strain of the virus has changed or mutated.

    This means that we can expect to have a flu season that’s more severe, which may result in more hospitalizations. And yes, more deaths are expected.

    Unfortunately, it’s not easy to produce another flu vaccine to fight against the mutated strain of virus. Despite having the modern technology, it still takes four months to produce the flu shot.

    But there’s no need to fret. The flu vaccine can still prevent the symptoms from worsening. It’ll also reduce your chances of having other strains of virus in your system. Thus, the CDC still recommends getting the flu shot against the virus.

    Even though it’s not perfect, it’s still your best shot in protecting yourself against the disease.

    When you feel like you’re having flu symptoms, it’s essential to take natural methods or antiviral medicines to fight against the virus. They can reduce complications as long as they’re taken early or as soon as the symptoms begin to show up.


    There’s no better way to prevent and protect yourself against the flu virus than enhancing your immune system. When you already have the flu symptoms, make sure that you hydrate yourself by drinking lots of fluids. Water is good but you need more than that. Fluid that can replace electrolyte is essential.

    Treat your symptoms with fluids and plenty of rest. This is to improve your weakened immune system so you can effectively fight the effects of flu virus.

    Then, eat healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Focus on fruits that are high in vitamin C.

    No matter how serious your condition is, don’t take antibiotics. Rather, go with natural methods of fighting against flu symptoms and the virus itself.

    About the author

    Erliza Lee Erliza Lee has a BS Biology degree. She likes writing topics related to health and travel.

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