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How long does the flu: How Long Does the Flu Typically Last?


How Long Should I Stay Home With a Cold or the Flu?

Written by Michelle Konstantinovsky

  • How Long to Stay Home
  • How Colds and Flu Spread
  • Any Time Your Child Is Sick

You’ve been home sick a couple days, and there’s only so much daytime television you can take. You’re ready to go back to work.

But common colds and the flu are very contagious. There are millions of cases of these upper respiratory infections every year. And colds are the biggest reason kids miss school and adults miss work.

If you’ve been sick with a cold or flu, how long are you supposed to stay home, and when should you go back to your everyday routine?

Experts generally agree that it’s best to stay home as long as you have severe symptoms, like a cough with mucus, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or fatigue, because you may be contagious. And the CDC recommends staying home at least 24 hours after your fever goes away unless you need to leave the house for medical care or other urgent reasons.

Also, rest is an important part of getting over any illness, so there’s another reason to take it easy while you feel sick.

How quickly you recover from a cold or the flu depends on how healthy you are. In general, healthy people usually get over a cold in 7 to 10 days. Flu symptoms, including fever, should go away after about 5 days, but you may still have a cough and feel weak a few days longer. All your symptoms should be gone within 1 to 2 weeks.

When you go back to work or school, make sure to cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands often so you don’t spread the illness to other people.

These viruses can develop into serious illnesses like pneumonia in people who have weak immune systems, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. So if you have a chronic illness, your healing time may be different.

Colds are most contagious in the first 2 to 4 days after symptoms start. But they can spread up to a few weeks after that. Your symptoms will usually show up 2 to 3 days after you’ve been infected, so you may not know you’re sick when you first get the virus.

You can give other people your cold just by being around them. Your sneezes and coughs can send virus particles as far as 12 feet through the air where they can land in someone’s mouth or nose or be inhaled into the lungs. Others can also catch your cold if they touch you or something you’ve come into contact with and then touch their mouth or nose.

Like the common cold, the flu is caused by a virus, and it’s likely to spread through coughs, sneezes, or even talking. Those actions can send droplets up to 6 feet away. It’s also possible to get the flu by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose, but that’s less likely.

You can be contagious before you even know you’re sick. The virus usually enters your body 1 to 4 days before you have any symptoms, and you can give it to someone a day before you feel anything up to 5 to 7 days after. And kids are contagious even longer. They can spread the virus for another week.

Some people never show symptoms but can still give it to others.

If your child is sick, it’s best for them to stay home until they feel well again. If they have a fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or any kind of pain, aren’t hungry, or seem extra tired or clingy, they should stay home.

How do you know when to keep your child home from school? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you answer a few key questions:

  1. Does your child have a fever? Fevers of 101 F or more are generally a sign of illness, so children should stay home.
  2. Is your child well enough to participate in class? If they seem too run-down to get much out of their lessons, keep them home.
  3. Do they have an illness like the flu or pinkeye? If you think they might, don’t let them go back to school until you know they’re not contagious anymore. If possible, have them attend online classes.

Check with your child’s day care or school before you send them back to their regular schedules. Many places have rules about how long kids need to stay home. Usually it’s at least a full day after they don’t have any fever without medication.

Here’s what you need to keep an eye on:

Fever is a sign that your body is fighting the germs that are making you sick. It’s a common symptom of infections like flu. If it’s 101 F or higher, wait until your child is fever-free for at least 24 hours before sending them back to school.

Diarrhea happens because of an infection, food poisoning, or medications like antibiotics. It can lead to dehydration, so give them a lot of fluids to drink. Keep your child home until their stools are solid and your doctor gives the OK.

Vomiting is another way our bodies get rid of germs. It’s usually caused by a stomach virus or infection. Keep your child at home if they have vomited twice or more in the last 24 hours. They can go back to school after their symptoms clear up or the doctor says they’re no longer contagious.

Severe cough and cold symptoms should keep your child home. A serious cough could be a symptom of contagious conditions like whooping cough, viral bronchitis, or croup. It can also be a warning sign of asthma or allergies.

Sore throats can be a symptom of a common cold or strep. If they have a mild cold, they can go to school. If your child has been diagnosed with strep throat, keep them at home for at least 24 hours after they start antibiotics.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is contagious, and a child should stay home for the first 24 hours after treatment begins. Symptoms include eye redness, irritation, swelling, and pus.

Headaches can be a symptom of contagious illnesses like the stomach flu, flu, meningitis, and strep throat. Experts disagree on whether a child should be kept home. If they don’t have any other signs of illness and feel fine, they can go to school.

Rashes can be a sign of contagious illnesses like chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, or impetigo (a skin infection). Keep your child home until they’ve been diagnosed. They can head back to the classroom after their symptoms are gone and the doctor gives the OK.

Ear infections aren’t contagious. There’s no need to keep a child with a mild earache home, as long as they feel well enough to concentrate.

Mild cold or respiratory symptoms don’t have to sideline your kid, but keep in mind that even if their nose runs clear and their cough is mild, they may pass the virus to somebody else.

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How Long Does the Flu Last? Stages & Symptoms

Key takeaways

  • The flu is a respiratory virus affecting the throat, nose, and sometimes the lungs.

  • It typically takes about two weeks to recover from the flu.


  • You are contagious two days before symptoms appear and up to seven days after they appear.


When symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose set in, you often wonder two things: What is this, and how long will it last? You could be dealing with allergies, a cold, or the flu, and each has a different timeline. How long the flu lasts depends on your general health but in general usually lasts about one to two weeks.

In this article, we break down the lifecycle of the flu, including how long you may experience symptoms, when you are contagious, and how long you should avoid interacting with others. We also advise when you should consider seeing a doctor. 

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How Long the Flu Lasts

The influenza virus causes the flu, a contagious respiratory sickness that affects the throat, nose, and sometimes the lungs. For healthy individuals, the flu is typically a fairly short-term illness, lasting no longer than a week or two. Luckily, you won’t feel miserable the entire time. Below is a timeline of a bout of the flu.

Incubation period

The time from when you’re exposed to a virus until symptoms first begin is called the incubation period. For the flu, this takes one to four days, with an average of two days. This means you may be contagious a day or two before symptoms start and can unknowingly spread the virus during that time.

Symptoms appear

Symptoms like cough, sore throat, fever, and runny nose generally show up one to four days after being exposed to the influenza virus. Not everyone has the same symptoms, and certain symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea, are more common in children or with certain strains of the flu. If your symptoms are severe or you are immunocompromised, consider seeking medical care at this time. 

Symptoms peak

Flu symptoms generally peak two to four days after they begin, then begin to gradually improve on their own. You are also most contagious three to four days after symptoms start. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Symptoms taper off

For otherwise healthy individuals, flu symptoms typically begin tapering off five days after they start. However, coughing and a general “sick” feeling may last for more than two weeks, especially for the elderly and those with chronic lung disease. 


With rest, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and plenty of fluids, you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time. However, even as you begin to feel better, it’s important to stay away from others for a little while to ensure you don’t spread the flu. You are contagious from 5-7 days after symptoms emerge, so it’s best to stay home for a week after you first begin feeling sick. If fever is one of your symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.  

How Long Are You Contagious?

The flu virus is thought to spread by tiny droplets released into the air when sick people cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets land on surfaces others may touch or go directly into the other person’s eyes, nose, or mouth causing them to get sick. 

If you have the flu, you were contagious even before you had symptoms. Before people start feeling symptoms, they are contagious for one or two days. Once symptoms start, you are contagious for the first five to seven days after getting sick. People with weakened immune symptoms or children, may be contagious for even longer. 

How to Treat the Flu

Prompt treatment with antiviral drugs, within two days of getting symptoms, may lessen symptoms and shorten the duration of your sickness by one or two days. They may also prevent severe complications like pneumonia. Not everyone needs antiviral drugs but those with compromised immune systems or the elderly may benefit.  

If you have the flu, be sure to stay home and distance yourself from others. If you do need to go out for any reason, wear a mask, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and wash your hands frequently. Allow yourself plenty of time to rest and be sure to keep yourself hydrated. 

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When to See a Doctor

With proper self-care, the flu typically goes away on its own, especially if you are otherwise healthy.

However, certain high-risk people should seek medical care when they come down with the flu to help watch for and prevent any serious complications such as pneumonia.

This includes: 

  • Adults 65 and older
  • Anyone with chronic illnesses (especially those that affect the lungs or immune system)
  • Pregnant people
  • Very young children with severe symptoms

Antiviral medications can help make flu symptoms go away about one day faster.

However, these need to be started within 72 hours of symptoms appearing, they can have bothersome side effects, and they do not prevent serious complications like hospitalization, pneumonia, or death.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine if these medications are right for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to recover from the flu?

The best thing you can do to recover from the flu as fast as possible is to stay hydrated, rest, and isolate. There is no cure for the flu, antibiotics are ineffective against it, and antiviral medications like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) only make symptoms go away about one day more quickly and can have side effects. Over-the-counter medications may provide some relief from symptoms, but they do not make the flu go away any faster.

How long does immunity to the flu last after getting sick?

Because there are so many different strains, it’s hard to say how long immunity to the flu lasts after getting sick. On the other hand, if you get the flu shot, you’re protected against multiple variations of the virus for about six months.

How long should you stay at home with the flu?

Because the flu easily spreads from person to person, it’s important to stay home when you may be contagious. Generally, this is from a day before and up to seven days after symptoms start. So stay home for a week after you first feel sick to help keep others safe.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions,
and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

  • Am I Still Contagious? (2018).

  • Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick. (2021).

  • Flu Season. (2021).

  • Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis. (2021).

  • How Flu Spreads. (2018).

  • How Long Does the Flu Last? (2020).

  • Preventive Steps. (2021).

  • What Are the Benefits of Flu Vaccination? (2021).

  • Key facts about influenza (Flu). (2022.)

How long is the incubation period for influenza and what are its symptoms?


  • 1 What is the incubation period of the flu: everything you need to know
    • 1. 1 Flu: description and symptoms
      • 1.1.1 Description
      • 1.1.2 Symptoms
      • 1.1.3 Prevention
    • 1.2 How flu is transmitted?
    • 1.3 What is the incubation period for influenza?
    • 1.4 Influenza incubation period: how long is it?
    • 1.5 Influenza incubation symptoms
    • 1.6 How do you know if you have been exposed to influenza during the incubation period?
    • 1.7 Influenza spread and incubation period
      • 1.7.1 Can you infect others during the incubation period of influenza?
    • 1.8 Incubation period of influenza: can infection be prevented?
      • 1.8.1 Primary precautions
      • 1.8.2 Personal protective measures
      • 1.8.3 Comprehensive infection control measures
    • 1.9 What if you suspect you are in the incubation period for influenza?
      • 1.9.1 Seek medical attention
      • 1.9.2 Quarantine
      • 1.9.3 Follow medical advice
      • 1. 9.4 Use precautions
      • 1.9.5 Stay at home
      • 900 15

      • 1.10 Related videos:
      • 1.11 Q&A:
          • How long is the incubation period for influenza?
          • Can influenza be contracted during the incubation period?
          • What are the first symptoms of influenza?
          • How long does the flu last?
          • How can influenza infection be prevented during the incubation period?
          • Who is most susceptible to influenza?
      • 1.12 Treatment of influenza during the incubation period
        • 1.12.1 Symptoms and prevention
        • 1.12.2 Traditional preparations
        • 1.12.3 Medicines 9 0010
      • 1.13 Consequences of influenza if left untreated

    Influenza incubation period: what it is, how long it can be, what symptoms appear and how to prevent infection during this period. More information on our website.

    Influenza is an acute infectious disease that causes a lot of problems for people, especially during seasonal epidemics. The characteristic symptoms of influenza are high fever, general weakness, headache, muscle and joint pain, runny nose, cough and other manifestations. But how long does it take for the disease to develop in the body? This is exactly what we will talk about in this article.

    To understand how influenza occurs, it is necessary to know that this viral illness is caused by an influenza virus that spreads through the air. From an infected person, the virus is transmitted to other people through small droplets that are released when sneezing, coughing, and even talking. After the body is infected with the virus, an incubation period begins, during which the virus replicates in the body.

    The incubation period for influenza can range from a few hours to 3-4 days. However, most often the symptoms of the disease appear within 1-2 days after the virus has entered the body. In addition, it must be remembered that the incubation period may vary depending on the individual characteristics of the body and the health of the patient.

    Influenza: description and symptoms


    Influenza is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. This virus varies somewhat in its forms and can cause different types of influenza. Influenza is transmitted by airborne droplets and manifests itself in the form of an acute respiratory infection.


    Influenza is manifested by acute pain in the muscles and joints, fever up to 39-40 degrees, runny nose, cough, headache and weakness. The incubation period for influenza is 1 to 4 days. The flu can be mild, but sometimes it causes complications such as pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.

    Different people may have different flu symptoms. For example, children may have more severe symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. In older people, the flu can be more severe.


    Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza. In addition, it is recommended to follow simple hygiene measures, such as washing hands, not coughing when in close contact with people, and avoiding mass gatherings during an influenza epidemic.

    • Ventilate areas where people are present regularly
    • Avoid close contact with people who have the flu
    • Wear a mask when in contact with people who are sick

    These simple steps can help you prevent getting the flu.

    How is influenza transmitted?

    Influenza is an infectious disease that spreads from person to person. It is caused by a virus that is spread through droplets that are released when you cough, sneeze, or talk.

    The influenza virus can also be spread by contact with surfaces that are contaminated with the virus. For example, if a sick person coughs into their hand and then touches a doorknob or other surface, the influenza virus can remain on that surface for more than 24 hours.

    There are several types of influenza virus that can spread from person to person, including h2N1, h4N2, and B. They can cause different symptoms and severity of illness.

    Therefore, to prevent the transmission of influenza, preventive measures must be followed: wash your hands, avoid touching your face, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, maintain social distance and wear masks if necessary.

    What is the incubation period for influenza?

    The incubation period is the time interval between the moment a person becomes infected with the influenza virus and the onset of the first symptoms of the disease. The average incubation period for influenza is one to three days, but can be up to seven days.

    During the incubation period, the influenza virus begins to actively multiply in the human body, but the symptoms of the disease do not yet appear. At this time, a person is a potential carrier of the virus and can transmit it to other people.

    The incubation period for influenza can be different for different types of influenza viruses and for different people, depending on their age, immune system, and other factors. After the end of the incubation period, a person begins to show flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, runny nose, cough, and others.

    Influenza incubation period: how long is it?

    The incubation period for influenza is the time from the moment you are infected until the first symptoms of the disease appear. The incubation period is an important indicator in the diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases, including influenza.

    The incubation period for influenza can vary from several hours to several days. Usually this time is from 1 to 4 days. In some cases, the incubation period can last up to 7 days.

    It is important to note that the length of the incubation period can depend on many factors, including the person’s age, health, and immune system, as well as the type of influenza virus and how it is transmitted.

    It should be remembered that during the incubation period of influenza, a person can be contagious even if they do not yet have symptoms of the disease. Therefore, precautions must be taken to avoid infecting others, especially those who are at risk for developing serious complications from the flu.

    Influenza incubation symptoms

    Influenza incubation period is the time between the moment of infection and the appearance of the first symptoms. This usually takes 1 to 4 days, but can take up to 7 days. During this time, changes occur in the body that cause a number of unpleasant sensations.

    • Weakness. A person may feel constant fatigue and drowsiness, even if he has had enough sleep.
    • Pain in muscles and joints. During the incubation period of influenza, pain in the muscles, joints, bones and head occurs. The feeling of pain can be intense.
    • Increased body temperature. One of the most striking signs of the incubation period of influenza is an increase in body temperature. It can reach 38-39 degrees and be accompanied by chills and sweating.
    • Headache. Headache may come on with fever or be accompanied by a feeling of heaviness in the head.
    • Cough and stuffy nose. Coughing and shortness of breath may occur at the end of the incubation period for influenza when the illness begins to develop.

    In general, the symptoms of the incubation period of influenza are not as pronounced as those of the disease, but they can be very tiring and uncomfortable. At the first signs of the disease, it is necessary to begin treatment in order to reduce the likelihood of developing the disease and help the body fight the virus.

    How do you know if you have caught the flu during the incubation period?

    The incubation period for influenza is the period of time that elapses from the time a person becomes infected with the flu until the first symptoms appear. Usually this period lasts from 1 to 4 days. During this period, a person can still infect others without being aware of their illness.

    How do you know if you have contracted influenza during the incubation period? Symptoms of the incubation period may often be subtle or absent. However, a few days before the first symptoms appear, you may begin to feel weak, tired, and have a headache. There may also be a violation of appetite and mood changes. During this period, you must be especially careful not to infect others.

    If you think you may be infected with influenza during the incubation period, contact your doctor. He can run tests to see if you have the flu in your body.

    In general, it is important to know that the incubation period for influenza can be very short and rapid, so preventive measures should be taken to avoid infection and spread of the virus.

    Influenza spread and incubation period

    Can you infect others during the incubation period of influenza?

    The incubation period for influenza is the time that passes from the moment the virus enters the body until the first symptoms appear. The duration of this period is usually from 1 to 4 days, depending on the type of virus and the state of the human immune system.

    During the incubation period of influenza, it is possible to infect other people because the virus is already in the body and the person is a carrier. But the probability of infection at this moment is lower than during the period of the active form of the disease, since the amount of virus in the secretions of the sick person is lower.

    To minimize the risk of infecting others during the incubation period, precautions such as frequent hand washing, use of masks, and limiting contact with other people should be followed.

    In addition, if you develop flu symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible and isolate yourself from others so as not to spread the infection further.

    Influenza incubation period: can infection be prevented?

    Immediate precautions

    The incubation period for influenza is the time from contact with an infected person until the onset of symptoms. The duration of this period can be from 1 to 7 days. There are a number of simple rules that help prevent infection during the incubation period. First of all, it is necessary to communicate with people with caution, avoid close contact and not share personal items with them.

    Personal protective measures

    During the incubation period of the flu, a person can be a carrier of the virus without even knowing they are sick. Therefore, it is important to follow personal protective measures such as regular handwashing, use of masks in public places, hygiene procedures after visiting public places, and special attention to one’s own health. It is also helpful to consult a doctor and take preventive measures, including vaccinations.

    Comprehensive measures to prevent infection

    It must be remembered that surviving a real epidemic or returning to a healthy state costs a whole range of measures, including: treatment depending on the degree of illness, occupational hygiene with other people, use of medical masks and gloves. In general, if you have any symptoms of the disease, you should immediately consult a doctor and follow the recommendations that this specialist will give you. Only together can we protect ourselves and our loved ones from infection during the flu incubation period.

    What to do if you suspect you are in the flu incubation period?

    Call your doctor

    If you suspect you have the flu, you should contact your doctor. The doctor will conduct an examination and make a diagnosis. If the diagnosis is positive, the doctor will prescribe the necessary treatment.


    If you suspect influenza, you must quarantine. You must stay at home and avoid close contact with other people so as not to infect them. This will help stop the spread of the disease.

    Follow the advice of medical staff

    If you have been diagnosed with the flu, follow the advice of medical staff. These may include medication, fluid intake, diet, and other advice to help you beat the disease.

    • Drink more water;
    • Stay in bed;
    • Limit physical activity;
    • Avoid smoking and alcohol;
    • Save your strength and let the immune system cope with the disease.

    Use precautions

    In addition to following the advice of medical staff, use precautions to avoid infecting others:

    1. Wash hands with soap and water;
    2. Use hand sanitizer;
    3. Avoid close contact with other people;
    4. Wear a mask to protect other people from possible infection.

    Stay at home

    If you have flu symptoms, it’s best to stay at home. Do not go to work, school, shops, or other public places. This will reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

    Related videos:


    How long is the incubation period for influenza?

    The incubation period for influenza is usually 1 to 4 days, with an average of about 2 days.

    Can influenza be contracted during the incubation period?

    Influenza infection is possible during the incubation period, since the virus is already in the body, but has not yet manifested itself.

    What are the first symptoms of influenza?

    The first flu symptoms may include high fever, chills, headache, body weakness, muscle pain and dry cough.

    How long does the flu last?

    The flu usually lasts 3 to 7 days, but some people may have symptoms for up to 2 weeks.

    How can influenza infection be prevented during the incubation period?

    Avoid contact with people with influenza during the incubation period, wash hands regularly, use masks, and take other infection prevention measures.

    Who is most susceptible to getting the flu?

    People with compromised immune systems, older people, children and pregnant women are at particular risk of contracting the flu.

    Treatment of influenza during the incubation period

    Symptoms and prevention

    During the incubation period of influenza, it is not always possible to determine the presence of the disease, but the first symptoms may appear, such as: headache, cough, runny nose, fever and muscle weakness. To prevent influenza and reduce the risk of getting sick, the following measures should be taken: wash your hands often, avoid contact with people who have the flu, and get regular vaccinations.

    Traditional remedies

    At the first sign of influenza during the incubation period, traditional methods of treatment can be used. For example, you can use a decoction of onion peel, tincture of garlic or burdock. Also useful will be the use of tea or infusion of linden and raspberries, which strengthen the immune system.


    Anti-influenza medicines are used to treat influenza during the incubation period, which can slow the progression of the disease. However, before using drug treatment, it is necessary to consult a doctor and choose the most appropriate drug, taking into account the individual characteristics of the body and the state of health.

    • Do not abuse drugs, as they can adversely affect health;
    • Mucolytics and antitussives will help relieve flu;
    • Room temperature fluid, compresses, or an antipyretic may be used to lower body temperature.

    By following these guidelines, you can reduce the risk of influenza during the incubation period and manage the illness without complications.

    Consequences of influenza if left untreated

    Influenza is a very serious disease and should not be ignored. Without timely treatment, this disease can cause the development of many complications that can be life-threatening.

    • Otitis. The flu can cause inflammation of the middle ear. With incorrect or untimely treatment, this complication can lead to hearing loss or the transition of the disease to a chronic form.
    • Pneumonia. This complication of influenza can lead to serious consequences. Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lungs, which can cause breathing problems. In severe cases, it can even be fatal.
    • Inflammation of the brain and its membranes. Influenza can cause inflammation of the brain and its membranes. This complication is rare but very dangerous. It can lead to a violation of the nervous system and death of a person.
    • Other complications. Some patients may experience other complications such as myocarditis, thromboembolism, or even sepsis.

    In any case, if you have flu symptoms, you should seek medical attention. Medicines that are used to treat the flu can help prevent complications from developing.

    How to distinguish influenza from SARS

    In this article you will learn what is the difference between influenza and SARS and why you need to distinguish between these diseases for proper treatment and prevention.

    Many people are accustomed to calling any ailment a “cold” and do not consider this condition dangerous. Indeed, there are similarities between all acute respiratory diseases. But they can be caused by different viruses and bacteria, run differently, and lead to different health outcomes. Therefore, the diagnosis and control of the doctor is actually very important.

    At the first symptoms of a respiratory viral infection, you can contact a MedEx clinic physician. We will help to accurately determine the nature of the disease and quickly cure it.

    Miscellaneous exciters

    The main difference between influenza and SARS is the reason. The causative agent of SARS can be any of more than 200 viruses (adenoviruses, parainfluenza, rhinoviruses, coronaviruses and many others). All respiratory viruses cause similar symptoms and require the same treatment, but from a scientific point of view, SARS is not one disease, but a large group.

    With the flu, the situation is different: it is caused by a very specific virus. Of course, the flu virus exists in three different types and constantly mutates, but scientists constantly monitor these changes and take them into account when preparing for each season of the epidemic.

    Miscellaneous onset and course of disease

    An experienced doctor can recognize the cause of the disease by the way it began and proceeds. Therefore, at the appointment with the therapist, tell in detail about your feelings from the first day when you felt that you were sick.

    The main differences are:

    • Influenza usually starts very abruptly. Literally within an hour or two, a high temperature rises and chills begin. The person feels unwell and tends to lie down, even if there are no respiratory signs of the disease yet. At the same time, ARVI can develop gradually and begin with slight weakness and sore throat.
    • The general condition of a sick person with ARVI is usually easier – there is weakness due to fever and unpleasant symptoms like a runny nose. During the flu, the patient often feels severe body aches, appetite disappears, sometimes weakness and dizziness literally do not allow to get out of bed. And most importantly, after the flu, weakness usually persists for another week or more.
    • Complete recovery from SARS usually occurs within a week. Influenza usually lasts longer: up to 10 days the acute phase of the disease, 2-3 weeks – asthenic syndrome, that is, weakness and decreased performance due to intoxication of the body.

    Slight differences in symptoms

    In general, the picture with ARVI and influenza is similar: a person feels very cold, he is concerned about respiratory manifestations of the disease and fever. But the difference still exists, and it is important to see it in order to consult a doctor in time at the slightest suspicion of the flu.

    The most important differences between flu and SARS symptoms to be aware of:

    • With ARVI, runny nose and sneezing usually appear immediately, on the very first day of the disease. With influenza, these symptoms are initially absent, they can only join on the 2-3rd day of illness and are considered a complication.
    • The body temperature during influenza is higher: it can rise to 38.5-40 ° C and stay for several days. If it’s the flu, it’s usually hard to bring down the fever. At the same time, ARVI rarely gives a temperature above 38 ° C, and after 2-3 days the fever subsides.
    • Some symptoms are especially pronounced with influenza: chills, pain in the eyes and photophobia, increased sweating, intense headache, redness of the mucous membranes of the eyes. Dizziness may also appear. All this is a consequence of the fact that with influenza, intoxication of the body is stronger and develops faster.
    • Influenza more often than SARS is accompanied by indigestion – especially in a child.
    • Cough with ARVI usually appears immediately, and with influenza it may not occur at all or join on the 2-3rd day of illness. During the flu, the cough is dry, often accompanied by chest pain.

    Flu vaccine available

    Unlike SARS, influenza in adults and children can be prevented by vaccination. This is possible because although the flu virus is constantly evolving, it still comes in only 3 types: A, B and C. The number of strains is limited, and scientists constantly monitor their mutation, so they can prepare for each season of the epidemic.

    What is important to know if you are planning to get a flu shot:

    • It does not provide 100% protection. If a person has been vaccinated, this does not mean that he will definitely not get the flu this season and may not comply with preventive measures. But the risk is still reduced by 70-80%, and this is already a good indicator.
    • Vaccination reduces the risk of complications from influenza and relieves symptoms of the disease. Even if a vaccinated person becomes infected, they are likely to recover from the flu more quickly and easily. Therefore, it makes sense to take root in any case.
    • A vaccine is developed annually. Each season of the epidemic is dominated by different strains of the virus, so the vaccine formula is regularly adapted by scientists. The vaccine simultaneously provides protection against several of the most dangerous varieties of influenza that will be common this year.
    • Vaccination should be done in advance, and not during the season of high incidence. The optimal margin of time to have time to form your own immunity is 3-4 weeks before the start of the season. In Russia, it usually begins in October-November, so the standard time for influenza vaccination is early autumn.

    At the same time, it is impossible to vaccinate against SARS, because this is too large a group of viral diseases. To prepare for a seasonal outbreak of SARS, you should strengthen your immune system in advance with proper nutrition, hardening, healthy sleep patterns and other methods. And directly in the cold season, you need to take additional precautions: dress according to the weather, wash your hands more often and avoid crowded places unless absolutely necessary.

    What do SARS and influenza have in common

    Despite the differences in the symptoms of influenza and SARS in adults, there are some common points. Strictly speaking, the flu is also one of the varieties of SARS. But since it is more severe and more likely to lead to complications, it is important to diagnose it separately and distinguish it from all other respiratory infections.

    What unites these two diagnoses:

    • It is useless to treat both ARVI and influenza with antibiotics – these are diseases of a viral nature; drugs for their treatment are selected by a general practitioner after a personal consultation.
    • The main thing for recovery is to keep the body calm, drink plenty of warm liquids and make sure that the body temperature does not rise excessively. These rules are relevant for any acute respiratory disease – an acute respiratory disease.
    • Influenza and SARS are highly contagious and are transmitted in the same way: by airborne droplets, by physical contact with a sick person, or through surfaces that an infected person has touched.
    • Epidemic: the incidence of SARS and influenza in Russia increases sharply every year in the autumn-winter period and in the spring. The peak incidence usually occurs in January-February. At this time, schools and kindergartens are closed for quarantine throughout the country, and polyclinics are overcrowded.
    • At risk for SARS and influenza are children under 14 years of age, pensioners, pregnant women and adults with weakened immunity for various reasons. These groups of people are more likely to catch the virus and need to be monitored by a doctor during an illness.
    • ARVI and influenza are fraught with similar complications: against their background, inflammatory processes can occur in the lungs and bronchi, middle ear, sinuses, and even in the heart or brain.