Being sick is never a good thing but the symptoms of flu are some of the worst ones to experience. If you are ill with influenza, you may already be experiencing symptoms. There are some symptoms, however, that indicate the flu is getting worse.
The length and severity of the illness and symptoms differ for everyone. Not everyone who catches the flu will experience the same symptoms. You may only experience a few of the symptoms on the list when you get sick.
The symptoms of flu are already bad enough. Knowing what may be coming next is essential to preparing for it and taking care of yourself. The flu goes through a set of stages, though, and progresses as the days go on.
Symptoms of Flu That Mean It’s Getting Worse
You’ll want to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Otherwise, the symptoms will only get worse. If you think your flu is worsening, these symptoms may help you confirm and plan for your days ahead.
1. Trouble Breathing or Shortness of Breath
With anything in life, if you are having trouble breathing, something bad is happening. Whether it is the flu worsening or something else entirely, it is scary and alarming.
If the difficulty breathing occurs only when you are laying down, there could be a less-serious explanation, however. When you lay down, your diaphragm pushes up and your lung capacity decreases.
Since your respiratory functioning is already at a disadvantage because of influenza, those movements make it difficult to breathe. You don’t have to overly worry unless the trouble breathing comes along with a fever or severe cough.
Additionally, if you have difficulty breathing while laying on your side, you may need medical attention. You should also consider seeing a doctor if the trouble breathing lasts for more than a few days.
2. Chest Congestion
Congestion is caused by inflammation, which is one way the body tries to get rid of viruses. When your body realizes there is a virus present, it sends out an inflammatory response. This causes your sinuses to become inflamed, which then leads to congestion.
If this happens to you when you have the flu, it may be getting worse. You will likely start to feel worse and your symptoms may flare-up.
Once the inflammation begins, you may find it more difficult to breathe. You will likely have a difficult time eating, and you’ll have trouble sleeping.
A natural remedy for congestion is to sit in a steaming shower or bathroom. The steam will help relieve the inflammation, which will then ease some of the chest congestion.
3. Weakness, Unsteadiness, or Dizziness
Having the flu can wreak havoc on your body. You’ll be stripped of nutrients, fighting off a virus, and feeling defeated all at the same time. Oftentimes, dehydration results from the symptoms of flu, which can cause you to become weak, unsteady, or dizzy.
The key to overcoming these symptoms is to drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. Walking or standing will only make it worse, so it is best to give in and lay in bed for a while. Keep in mind that if you are feeling weak, unsteady, or dizzy while standing, it could cause a painful fall.
If your case of the flu gets bad enough, it can get into your brain, causing inflammation. When this happens, it can affect your memory, clarity, concentration, and ability to focus.
5. Muscle Pain or Body Aches
If you experience body aches, they will likely begin in your head, back, arms, or legs. They will quickly spread and make you feel like your entire body hurts.
Some people describe this as bone pain or body aches, while others believe that it is muscle pain. Either way, it is uncomfortable and is a likely symptom of flu.
Another form of body aches you may experience is a pain in your joints. They tend to become inflamed when your body is fighting a virus, which can cause them to ache. You’ll notice it when you bend your knees, move your fingers, sit down, or walk around.
6. Fever That Goes Away and Then Comes Back
The flu often causes fevers that are above 100F. If your fever starts to go down or goes away completely but then returns, your illness is likely getting worse.
7. Cough That Starts to Improve and Then Returns
As with a fever, this is a bad sign. A cough may not be alarming initially or by itself. If it begins to go away and then returns even worse, however, it’s likely a problem.
A cough is the body’s way of getting rid of invading viruses. Drink lots of water or caffeine-free tea to help ease the coughing and sore throat that is sure to follow.
Headaches may be one of the first symptoms to appear and one of the last to go away. With the flu, headaches are often caused by the inflammation of the sinus cavities.
Other times, you may feel a headache that seems to be behind or around your eyes. When this happens, it is a sign that you are also dehydrated.
9. Chills or Sweats
You may experience chills or sweats even if you don’t have a fever. It’s oftentimes a good indicator that you have the flu or that it’s getting worse.
10. Pain or Pressure in Your Chest
If you have the flu and chest pain or pressure occurs, you likely have a bad case of it. While sometimes, chest pain is caused by congestion or coughing, it could be an indicator that things are worsening.
It could indicate that you are developing bronchitis or pneumonia. Another thing it can indicate is that the infection has spread to other parts of your body.
If you think the chest pain is related to coughing or congestion try home remedies to ease the flu symptoms. You can drink warm liquids such as warm water with honey mixed in or a hot caffeine-free tea.
On the other hand, if you think your chest pain is something more severe, call your doctor. They can rule out other causes or offer other remedies for getting through it.
11. Gastrointestinal Issues
Not everyone who gets the flu experiences gastrointestinal problems. Those who do, however, can be sure that their illness is only getting worse. This could be in the form of nausea, stomach pain, cramping, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you are experiencing these symptoms of flu, remember to drink extra water. Dehydration can quickly follow gastrointestinal problems, and that will only make you sicker. Avoid caffeine and sweetened juices, as those can lead to further dehydration.
While it is normal to feel abnormally tired when you are sick, the flu will have you feeling even worse. If you suddenly become fatigued or the fatigue just won’t go away, it is an indicator that it’s getting worse.
Fatigue is also a symptom of a common cold, but it’ll be worse with this virus. It is often one of the first symptoms that you will experience.
You should give in to this feeling, even if you have other things you want to do first. Getting rest and allowing your body to recover is essential to getting better. Rest helps improve the immune system, allowing your body to fight off the virus more effectively.
13. You Lose Your Sense of Smell
When you are sick, your white blood cells release natural chemicals that kill viruses. These chemicals cause increased mucous production and nasal inflammation. When this occurs, you will likely lose your sense of smell altogether.
14. Having a Metallic-Like Taste in Your Mouth
To properly taste your food, you have to be able to smell it. This is because 80% of taste is directly related to smell.
So, when you have the flu and can’t smell anything, you will likely notice your food having a weird taste. If this symptom of flu is just beginning for you, it’s a sure sign that the illness is getting worse.
15. Unable to Keep Food or Water Down
When you are sick, you may not feel like eating much. It’s important to keep food and water in your body, however, so your body can fight off influenza. A sign that your illness is getting worse, however, is the inability to keep anything down.
If you vomit every time you drink or eat something, your flu is getting worse. It can be dangerous and lead to severe problems if it persists. You will want to consult a medical professional if your illness gets to this point.
Final Thoughts on Recognizing the Symptoms of Flu That Indicates It Is Getting Worse
Many symptoms of flu mean it’s getting worse. Getting ahead of them and making a plan for dealing with it and getting through can make all the difference.
Oftentimes, the only thing that can make it better is to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Influenza is a difficult illness to deal with, so knowing what to expect is essential to getting through it.