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Melissa, B.S. Biology/Psychology
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  B.S. Biology/Psychology - University of Georgia
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How long do you run a fever with the flu?

Resolved Question:

How long does the flu and fever last if you are taking just over the counter medication?

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Melissa replied 8 years ago.

Many people confuse the flu with the common cold as they both have upper respiratory symptoms. If your symptoms such as high fever, chills and body ache came on quickly, it is more likely to be the flu. If you're not feeling quite as bad and just have some congestion and fever, it may be a cold. Colds last about as long as the flu, but are far less intense. Keep in mind that if you take Tamiflu, it will only work if you have the influenza virus, as it doesn't work against the viruses that cause the common cold.

Typically, the symptoms of true influenza infection can last about 7-10 days, though with some people, it can even extend up to two weeks. The fever generally doesn't last as long, usually 2-5 days only. Other symptoms include headache, dry cough, congestion, fatigue, aches, pains, breathlessness, poor appetite and nausea and vomiting in some individuals. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol do not help you get over the infection faster and only work to relieve some of the symptoms such as fever, aches and pains. If you've had the symptoms for less than 48 hours, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medications such as Tamiflu that may help you get over the illness quickly and with less intense symptoms, .

In most cases, both a cold and the flu are treated with plenty of fluids, rest and symptomatic relief. For a fever, try Tylenol every 4-6 hours and/or Ibuprofen every 6-8 hours. Wear single layer of clothing to stay cool (but not cold) and take lukewarm baths. If you can't manage the fever with over-the-counter remedies, or it gets higher than 103.7, you should seek medical attention.

For other symptoms, 'cold and flu' variety of medications may help. Prior to taking it, be sure to read what medications are in them especially if you are also taking a combination of Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Many over-the-counter medications already have Tylenol or Ibuprofen in them and you wouldn't want to double the dosage.

I hope this helps and hope you feel better soon!

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