An informational post contributed by Randy Archibald, PA-C
Flu season is officially here! We just treated our first influenza patient of this flu season here at St. Mark’s Primary Care at West Valley so I thought it would be a good time to review the basics of influenza and how to manage it.
Almost everyone has experienced the common cold at some point in their lifetime, which starts out slowly with a few mild symptoms that gradually increase over two to three days. Typical symptoms include runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, and mild fevers. The only treatment necessary is to rest, drink a lot of fluids, and take over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms until the body’s immune system overcomes the cold virus, which typically occurs after three to five days.
In contrast, the flu is characterized by a sudden onset of moderate to severe symptoms. I often see flu patients who go from feeling fine to sick in bed with fevers within 6-12 hours, describing their symptoms as though they were “hit by a truck.” Symptoms of the flu include body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, cough, sore throat, and high fevers. Generally the flu lasts four to seven days and often a person with the flu doesn’t feel completely well for about two weeks.
Although the body can overcome the influenza virus on its own, the duration and severity of the flu symptoms are decreased by using anti-viral flu medications. Complications of the flu such as bronchitis or pneumonia are less likely if the flu is treated early. It is important to note that flu medications must be started within 48 hours of the start of the illness to be effective, so if you suspect that you or a loved one has the flu, don’t delay in seeking medical treatment. If you have any doubt about whether or not to see your medical provider about an illness, make an appointment. Your medical provider will have the experience, testing, and medications necessary to help you feel better, sooner.
Randy Archibald is a certified physicians assistant at St. Mark’s Primary Care at West Valley in West Valley City, UT. He and the other providers at this clinic offer same day appointments for cases like the flu that need to be treated immediately. To make an appointment with Randy or a provider in your area, please call 1-877-870-3745.