Determining if you have the flu can be hard. This is due to the variety of flu symptoms that are strikingly similar to other respiratory conditions. If an individual starts to feel sick and wants to know if he/she has the flu, there are important considerations to bear in mind.
How flu starts
In most cases, the individual wakes up and suddenly feel down – lack of energy, sore muscles and cough. At this point, many will ask “Do I have flu?” In case this scenario seems familiar, chances are likely that the individual might have the flu.
The flu typically occurs abruptly. If the individual experiences mild symptoms for a few days that seem to worsen in a gradual manner, he/she might have common cold or another viral infection, but it is likely that it is not the flu.
What are the common symptoms of flu?
In case the most evident symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, the individual does not have the flu. This might indicate gastroenteritis or stomach flu. Remember that diarrhea and vomiting are actually rare.
The usual symptoms of flu include the following:
- Fever and chills
- Body aches or sore muscles
It is important to note that not all who have flu can end up with all these symptoms. Some can even be worse in some than others. In case the symptoms are significantly different, chances are that it is not the flu.
What if I have a flu shot?
Many individuals are frustrated if they were given a flu shot but end up with the flu. Understandably, this frustration is understandable, but there are various explanations why the individual became sick.
Flu vaccine usually takes 2 weeks to be effective
If an individual received a flu shot and becomes sick with the flu after a week, the vaccine was not given enough time to be effective. Once this occurs, many quickly blame the vaccine for causing the condition, but that is not likely either. Chances are the individual acquired the virus around the time that vaccine was given or shortly after. Remember that the virus incubates for a few days.
Flu vaccine did not work
It is sad to note that some do not respond well to the vaccine and end up getting sick. Based on studies, it was revealed that when an individual has been vaccinated but acquires the virus, the symptoms are usually mild and less serious. In addition, they are less likely to end up with complications.
Influenza virus not present in the vaccine used
Take note that researchers have to make the best guess which influenza virus is likely to circulate during the flu season since the vaccines takes about 6 months to produce.
Due to the high probability for the virus to mutate and change, the virus used in the vaccines is not always right. Oftentimes, a particular strain of the virus that currently circulates was not included in the vaccine.