Influenza: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

How long do flu symptoms last?

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory infection characterized by a variety of symptoms, treatment, and ways to prevent. Each of these symptoms has a different duration. If the digestive problems disappear after one or two days, fatigue may persist for up to four weeks.

No one likes to be sick. That’s why some people take vitamins in the winter, and others get a flu shot. But sometimes, despite these precautions, the flu virus can still reach us.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. Its symptoms, at least in the early stages, can be confused with those of other viral diseases. But their intensity and duration usually distinguish them from a cold, for example.

The seven main symptoms of influenza

  • Fever: this is one of the first symptoms to develop. High (over 38.5°C), it can reach 40°C. It is usually accompanied by shivering and sweating and persists for several days.
  • Aches and pains: although muscle pain is widespread, it is particularly marked in the back.
  • Headache: it is intense and persistent.
  • Fatigue: the feeling of tiredness, significant, can go until exhaustion.
  • Frequent sneezing: this is associated with a runny or stuffy nose and a sore throat.
  • A dry Cough
  • Chest pain

Influenza incubation time

between the time a person is infected and the onset of symptoms, it takes 24 to 48 hours.


How long is one contagious?

The length of time the flu is contagious varies according to the age of the person with the flu. A child remains infectious for about six days, an adult for five days, and an elderly person for two to three days after the onset of symptoms.

How many days does the flu last?

The variety of flu symptoms also shows up in their duration

Each symptom has a specific duration

  • digestive disorders: one to three days
  • headaches: one to three days
  • pain: three to five days
  • fever: three days to a week
  • Fatigue: one to two weeks
  • cough: one to two weeks

In the absence of complications, it usually takes a week to “cure” the flu and see most symptoms disappear. Fatigue and coughing, however, continue to occur for more extended periods.

The course of symptoms also depends very much on the health of the person with the flu. While they will gradually disappear after a week in a healthy person, the risk of complications is higher in some people, such as children, people over 65 years of age, pregnant women, people (children and adults) with chronic illnesses, and obese people.

How do I know if the flu is getting worse?

Complications from influenza can be severe, primarily if they affect a person who is at risk.

Therefore these sensitive populations are encouraged to get vaccinated free of charge.

What are the most common complications of the flu?

The most common complications are bacterial superinfections of the respiratory tract (bronchitis) and the lungs (pneumonia). In children, otitis is the most common complication. Neurological complications (convulsions, encephalitis) are rare. If the person has a chronic illness, it can also get worse.

Warning signs that should prompt immediate medical attention

  • A high fever lasting more than two days,
  • shortness of breath at rest and difficulty breathing,
  • in children, convulsions, ear pain.


How do I treat my flu?

Seasonal flu comes back every year between November and April. Caused by the influenza virus, it is highly contagious. Here’s an update on treatments and natural solutions to deal with it as effectively as possible.

Simple gestures to avoid contamination

Influenza syndrome is a combination of many disorders that knock us out. This disease owes its name to the fact that it catches us, that it “grabs” us!

The highly contagious influenza virus, which is transmitted from one person to another by air via respiratory secretions, is the culprit. Droplets of saliva spread through the air after a sneeze or a coughing fit.

  • The famous “Put your hand in front of your mouth” of our childhood limits the contagion.
  • So does frequent hand washing with soap, because the virus can also be transmitted through direct contact.
  • Using single-use tissues is essential to limit person-to-person transmission. Because the flu virus is continually changing, you can be infected several times in your lifetime.

The course of flu is generally favorable in healthy people who recover spontaneously after one to two weeks.


Treat fever and pain first

First-line treatment is primarily aimed at reducing the intensity of symptoms: it consists of medication for fever and pain.

Antiviral treatments can be prescribed as a preventive measure after exposure to the virus or as a curative measure at the onset of illness, but their use remains limited.

Rest and eat well

Even if appetite is lacking, eating well is vital to avoid deficiencies. In particular, we monitor our intake of vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Above all, you should rest so as not to weaken an organism that is already in the wrong way.

Beware of possible complications from the flu

Influenza can cause severe complications in older or more frail individuals. Acute bronchitis, bacterial sinusitis, and pneumonia may then be life-threatening for the elderly.

Severe or prolonged fevers should prompt consultation. They can signal a bacterial superinfection, to be treated with antibiotics.



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