Do Flu Symptoms Come on Suddenly?

January 9, 2024

With the arrival of flu season, understanding the onset of symptoms is crucial for timely care. The flu, short for influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Each year, flu season affects communities, impacting people of all ages. One of the most significant aspects of the flu virus is how quickly it can strike. In this blog, we’ll explain flu symptoms, onset, and treatments so you know when to seek medical attention when necessary.

For same-day flu symptom relief, visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek. Our board-certified medical providers specialize in both preventive care like administering annual flu shots, and immediate care for flu symptoms. Simply walk-in or plan your visit in advance by pre-registering below.

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Understanding the Influenza Virus

The influenza virus causes a contagious respiratory illness known as the flu. Among all influenza viruses, influenza A and B viruses are the primary culprits behind seasonal outbreaks. Outbreaks typically occur during the late fall through the winter. The virus mutates frequently, which leads to the emergence of new strains. This constant mutation is why annual flu vaccines are necessary, as they are designed to protect against the most prevalent strains predicted for each flu season. Influenza viruses spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. People can also transfer the virus to their mouths or noses by touching contaminated surfaces.

Flu Symptom Onset

In short, yes, flu symptoms do come on suddenly. Unlike the gradual onset of a cold, the flu tends to hit suddenly and intensely. One moment you might feel fine, and the next you may be hit with a wave of symptoms. The abrupt onset is one of the hallmark characteristics of the flu. The sudden onset of these symptoms can be alarming, especially when compared to other respiratory illnesses like the common cold. Understanding this rapid onset is crucial in seeking prompt care and taking necessary precautions.

Typically, within a few hours, you may experience symptoms that can include:

  • Fever
  • Body Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose

Prevention and Treatment

The flu is highly contagious, and individuals infected with the virus can spread it to others before showing symptoms themselves. This makes it important to practice preventive measures, like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing to reduce the risk of transmission. The most effective way to prevent the flu each year is to receive your annual flu vaccination. Flu shots are recommended for everyone six months of age and older, providing protection against the flu virus and reducing the severity of symptoms if infection does occur.

Since the flu is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective in treatment. Antiviral medications, if taken early enough in the course of illness, can help lessen the severity and duration of symptoms. Certain populations, like the elderly, young children, and those with underlying health conditions, are at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu. Seeking medical attention promptly upon the onset of symptoms is crucial to prevent severe illness.

Get Same-Day Flu Treatment at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek

The flu often arrives suddenly and causes a range of symptoms that can be debilitating. Recognizing the swift onset of flu symptoms and taking necessary preventive measures can help combat the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact. If you or someone you know experiences a sudden onset of flu-like symptoms, come visit the walk-in clinic at AFC Urgent Care Denver Cherry Creek. Our urgent care center is open seven days a week and operates on a walk-in basis– meaning no appointment is required beforehand. If you have any additional questions about flu symptoms or treatment, please contact us directly at (303) 692-8000.

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