Flu: Signs and symptoms
Ask your patient:15
- What symptoms have you been experiencing?
- Have your symptoms been continuous?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- Did your symptoms improve and then worsen?
- What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
- What, if anything, worsens the symptoms?
The patient should be referred to a physician in the following scenarios, as they may potentially require prescription antibiotics:16
- If symptoms do not improve within 10 days, or get better and then suddenly deteriorate, including a fever of over 38°C, green or yellow mucus, and face pain for >3 consecutive days – this may indicate a bacterial sinus infection
- If symptoms include a cough with coloured mucus, a fever of over 38°C, chills, shortness of breath, and chest pain with deep inhalation – this may indicate bacterial pneumonia
- If the main symptoms are fits of severe, rapid coughing that end with a “whoop” sound – this may indicate pertussis (whooping cough)
- If symptoms include sudden throat pain, pain when swallowing, a fever of over 38°C, and swollen glands – this may indicate strep throat
- If symptoms include severe headache, high fever, neck pain or stiffness, photophobia, or a purpura rash – this may indicate meningitis
Patients should also be referred for:
- Difficulty breathing, or wheezing
- Cough for >3 weeks
- Severe sore throat