The following information from the Centers for Disease Control is provided to help you to decide whether you may have influenza (either seasonal flu or swine flu). The differences between symptoms of the common cold and influenza are as follows:
Gradual onset of symptoms
Sudden onset of symptoms
Possible mild fever
Significant fever (100-104) lasting 3-4 days
Possible mild headache
Mild to moderate body aches
Severe muscle and body aches
Severe fatigue, weakness & exhaustion
Nasal congestion & sneezing
Loss of appetite
Possible sore throat Dry cough Possible runny nose
The amount of time from exposure to developing symptoms of influenza is from one to four days.
Persons with influenza may be contagious from one day before symptoms until seven days after the onset of symptoms.
There are antiviral medications available for the treatment of influenza, which can reduce the severity and shorten the duration of influenza if administered early on. If you become ill with symptoms of influenza, you should seek medical evaluation, preferably within 48 hours.
In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids, rest, gargle with warm salt water and take Tylenol or Advil for relief of temperature and muscle aches.
Other ways to prevent contracting influenza are to avoid close contact with people with cold/flu symptoms and practice good hand washing, especially before eating and drinking. If you have symptoms yourself, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, dispose of used tissues appropriately, and pay special attention to hand washing. Seek medical attention within 48 hours if you have the above flu symptoms.