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Can You Have the Flu Without a Fever?

  • The influenza virus

    The influenza virus

    Influenza, or “flu” for short, is an illness caused
    by the influenza virus. If you have ever had the flu, you know how miserable it
    can make you feel. The virus attacks your respiratory system and produces many
    uncomfortable symptoms, which last between one and several days.

    The flu is not a serious health problem for most people,
    but if you are elderly, are very young, are pregnant, or have a compromised
    immune system, the virus can be deadly if not treated.

    Read more: Early flu symptoms »

  • Common flu symptoms

    Common flu symptoms

    Most people who contract the flu
    virus will experience several symptoms. These include:

    • a fever
    • aches
      and pains throughout the body
    • headaches
    • chills
    • a
      sore throat
    • an
      extreme feeling of fatigue
    • a
      persistent and worsening cough
    • a stuffy
      or runny nose

    Not everyone with the flu has every symptom, and the
    seriousness of the symptoms varies by individual.

  • The flu and fever

    The flu and fever

    A fever is a common symptom of the
    flu virus, but not everyone who gets the flu will have one. If you do
    experience a fever with the flu, it is typically high, over 100ºF (37.78ºC),
    and is partly responsible for why you feel so bad.

    Treat a case of the flu seriously, even if you don’t
    have a fever. You are still contagious and your illness could progress and
    become a real concern, even if your temperature is not elevated.

  • A fever from other illnesses

    A fever from other illnesses

    There are many other causes of a fever besides the flu virus. Any type of infection, whether bacterial or viral, can cause you to run a fever. Even being sunburned or experiencing heat exhaustion can elevate your temperature. Some types of cancer, certain medications, vaccines, and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may also be accompanied by a fever.

  • Flu versus the common cold

    Flu versus the common cold

    If you have flu-like symptoms but
    no fever, you might suspect that you have a cold. It is not always easy to tell
    the difference, and even a cold can cause you to have a mild fever.

    In general, all symptoms are worse when you have the
    flu. You are also more likely to have congestion, a runny nose, a cough, a sore
    throat, or sneezing with the flu. Exhaustion is also common with the flu. This
    tiredness is not nearly as extreme when you have a cold.

  • Treating the flu

    Treating the flu

    Treatment for the flu is limited.
    If you visit your doctor quickly enough, they may be able to give you an
    antiviral medication that can shorten the duration of the infection. Otherwise,
    you must simply stay home so that you can rest and recover. It’s also important
    to stay home and rest so you avoid infecting others. Sleep, drink plenty of
    fluids, and stay away from others.

  • Feed a cold, starve a fever

    Feed a cold, starve a fever

    Common wisdom says that you should
    starve a fever, but the old saying just isn’t true. There is absolutely no
    benefit to not eating when you are sick, unless the illness is in your
    digestive tract. In fact, food will help you keep up your strength and give
    your immune system the energy it needs to fight the virus. Drinking liquids is
    also very important when you have a fever because you can become dehydrated
    quickly.

  • When to worry

    When to worry

    For most people the flu is
    unpleasant but not serious. Anyone at risk for complications, however, should
    see a doctor if they suspect the flu. These people include:

    • the
      very young
    • the
      elderly
    • those
      with chronic illness
    • those
      with a compromised immune system

    Even people who are usually healthy can have a flu that
    progresses into a worse illness. If you do not feel better after a couple of
    days, see your doctor.  

  • The stomach flu

    The stomach flu

    The nasty virus that attacks your
    stomach and makes it impossible to keep food down for a day or two is not
    related to influenza. We often call it the flu, but this stomach bug is really
    termed viral gastroenteritis. It does not always cause a fever, but a mild
    increase in your body temperature might occur with this infection. 

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References:

  • 10 flu myths. (2009). Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/10-flu-myths.htm
  • Flu vaccine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.chw.org/medical-care/immunizations/flu-vaccine/
  • Influenza (flu). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/infectious_diseases/influenza_flu_85,P00625/
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, May 29). Fever: Causes.
    Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fever/DS00077/DSECTION=causes
  • The flu: What to do if you get sick. (2016, August 18).
    Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm

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Posted by: Dr.Health

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