The flu (Influenza) takes as little as a few days to develop and symptoms are likely to continue for more than 3 days, lasting to about a week.
Flu symptoms include:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea.
A common cold might feel very unpleasant and symptoms could include a stuffy nose and a light fever but although they are both similar complaints, colds are not as severe as flu (influenza). In addition, instances of vomiting and headaches are considered as red flag symptoms attributed to the flu bug.
Flu can be self treated if the patient is otherwise fit and well. You need to keep as warm and hydrated as possible and the priority is to completely rest. For the more vulnerable over the age of 65, contact the GP if you are worried about complications setting in which are life threatening. Pain killers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used to manage the fever in the meantime.
In the first instance over the busy winter period, NHS 111 is a great source of advice within a non-emergency situation. When calling 111, a fully trained advisors is available 24 hours a day. Depending on the situation the team can connect you with relevant healthcare professionals, as well as arrange face-to-face appointments and if you are assessed as needing an ambulance, one will be sent directly.
Winter needn’t be the unhealthiest time of year. Although colds and flu may start to circulate in the community, there are lots of things you can do to keep yourself healthy and well. Here are some steps from the Livewell, you can take yourself to help ward off winter illness: https://www.livewellcampaign.co.uk/livewell-articles/stay-well-this-winter/
and NHS advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/
For more information about Flu in later years: