Flu (or influenza) is a disease caused by the flu virus. This virus infects the mucous membrane in your airways. Flu is not dangerous for most people and often disappears on its own. In the winter months, a flu wave often comes on.
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What are the symptoms of flu?
If you are infected with the flu virus, you will get sick quickly: within about twelve hours. The symptoms of flu are:
- High fever (39 degrees or higher)
- Cold shivers
- Decreased appetite
- Muscle pain and joint pain
- Sore throat
- Ticklish cough or persistent cough
- Common cold
- Overall feeling of being sick
- Red throat and / or nasal mucosa
Why do you get muscle pain from flu?
The flu virus only infects your airways. It therefore does not seem logical that flu causes muscle pain. Yet this is the case. Muscle pain, just like fever and headache, is due to your own immune system. With flu, white blood cells send signal substances through your body, so that the other white blood cells in your body are warned about the invader. These signal substances can accumulate in muscle cells, where they activate pain receptors. This causes muscle pain in, for example, your arms, legs and back.
What to do about the flu?
If you have the flu, it is important to:
- Take a rest . When you have the flu, it is important to get plenty of rest. The more you rest, the better your body can fight the flu virus.
- Enough to drink . When you have a high fever, you sweat a lot. This will cause you to lose a lot of moisture. Therefore, drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day to maintain your moisture level. It is best to drink water or tea. Do you think you have a fever? Then check your body temperature with a thermometer .
- Keep yourself warm . By dressing warmly and hiding under blankets, you stay nice and warm. Your body then has more energy to fight the flu.
- Take a pain reliever . Paracetamol can help with headaches and muscle pain and can lower fever. Paracetamol does not make the flu pass faster. There is no point in taking antibiotics, because flu is not caused by bacteria, but by a virus. If you develop sinus infection, an anti-inflammatory pain reliever, such as ibuprofen , can provide relief.
- Very sick . It can take as much as three weeks to recover if you have had the flu. That is why it is important to get sick and not to get back to work too soon. Otherwise, there is a good chance that you will get the flu again in a short time.