Symptoms

Flu-can-be-anywhere

Signs and symptoms of influenza can include:

  • fever (a temperature of 38°C or higher)
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhoea.

 

It may take up to three days to feel symptoms after you catch influenza.

The worst symptoms usually last about five days, but coughing can last up to two to three weeks.


High risk groups

People at higher risk of developing complications if they get influenza include:

  • pregnant women and women who have just given birth
  • people with an ongoing health condition (like asthma, diabetes, cancer, a heart or lung condition, and conditions that affect the nervous or immune systems)
  • significantly overweight people
  • people aged 65 years or over
  • very young children, especially infants (under 1 year).


If you are at higher risk, it is important to seek advice early from your doctor or Healthline (ph 0800 611 116), to see if you need treatment.


Danger signs

Seek urgent medical advice if you have:

  • a high fever that doesn't come down, especially if you are pregnant
  • chills or severe shaking
  • difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • purple or bluish discolouration of your lips, skin, fingers or toes
  • seizures or convulsions.

Look out for signs of dehydration such as dizziness when standing, and not passing urine regularly.

If a person you are caring for is less responsive than normal, unusually quiet, or confused, you should call a doctor urgently.

It is also important to let your doctor know if you were starting to feel better, then get worse.


Danger signs for babies and young children

Call a doctor if your baby or child's breathing is fast or noisy or if they are wheezing or grunting. Check if the area below the ribs sucks inward (instead of expanding as normal) as they breathe in.

You should get help if your baby or child is:

  • very pale
  • drowsy or difficult to wake
  • severely irritable, not wanting to be held
  • limp or unable to move.

If a baby has dry nappies or no tears when they are crying, it means they are dehydrated. It is important to contact a doctor.

If you have any worries about yourself or someone you are caring for, call Healthline (0800 611 116) for advice or see a doctor.


Find out more from the Ministry

 

Last updated: August 14, 2015