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Flu Answers

  • Category: Primary Care
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General




Think you have the flu?

While most cases of the flu and non-emergent, in some situations you may need to go the ER. If you are experiencing severe flu symptoms or are pregnant, over the age of 65, or under the age of 5, you should seek care immediately.

If you think you have the flu, Baton Rouge General offers 3 convenient options for getting care.

  • Primary Care + Urgent Care


  • Mild to Moderate Symptoms
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Stuffy Nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Low Fever
  • ER

    24-Hour Emergency Room

  • Severe Symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that get better, but return with a fever and worse cough
  • Swelling in the mouth or throat

Questions About Symptoms

Q: Do I have a cold or the flu?

Cold Symptoms

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Sore throat
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Stuffy Nose
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Flu Symptoms

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High Fever
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Muscle Pain
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Q: What are symptoms of the flu?
A: It is sometimes difficult to tell if you have a cold or the flu. If you have high fever, muscle pain, vomiting, and chills or are extremely tired, you should see a doctor who can help diagnose you.

Q. Do you get a sore throat with the flu?
A. Yes. A sore throat can be a symptom of the flu; however, a sore throat can also be caused by a cold, strep infection or tonsillitis. If you have a painful sore throat you should see a doctor who can help determine the cause.

Q. Can you have the flu without a fever?
A. Yes. Although fever is a common symptom of the flu, not everyone with the flu with have a fever.

Q. How can you tell the difference between a stomach virus and the flu?
A. Symptoms of a stomach virus or stomach flu include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping. It is rare that adults with seasonal flu experience vomiting and diarrhea. Some children will experience stomach related symptoms with the flu.

Q. Can dogs get the flu?
A. Yes; however, canine flu is different than the flu strain that affects humans. This means that your dog can’t get the flu from you and you can’t get the flu from your dog. Although dog flu comes from a different viral strain, dogs spread the flu to other dogs just like humans - through sneezing and coughing. Symptoms of dog flu include reduced appetite, sneezing, high fever, persistent coughing, and eye discharge.

Q. What is the bird flu?
A. The bird flu, or avian influenza, is a virus commonly found among birds, including chickens, other poultry and ducks. The bird flu does not normally infect humans; however, rare cases have occurred.


Q: Are there side effects from the flu shot?
A: Flu vaccines and shots can cause minimal side effects. These are generally mild and go away within a day or two. Symptoms include redness or soreness at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea and muscle aches.

Q: Can I get the flu from the flu vaccine?
A: No. The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu.

Q: How can I prevent the flu?
A: The best way to prevent the flu is getting your annual flu vaccine. The vaccine can reduce your risk of flu by between 40 – 60%.

  • Cover your cough and sneeze into your elbow instead of your heads.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Quit smoking. Research shows that smoking can increase your flu and pneumonia risk.

Q: Can I drink after getting the flu shot?
A: It’s not a good idea to drink immediately after the shot, but in general, it’s ok to drink in moderation after getting the vaccine . And during flu season especially, watch your alcohol intake, since drinking, like smoking, can lower your resistance to infection in general.

Need a flu vaccine? Visit one of our primary care or urgent care locations.

Diagnosed with the Flu

Q: How long does the flu last?
A: The flu can last between one to two weeks with symptoms lasting between five to seven days.

Q: How long am I contagious with the flu?
A: Unfortunately if you have been diagnosed with the flu, you were contagious before you realized it. You are contagious one day before symptoms begin and can remain contagious for about a week. If you have recently been diagnosed it is important to stay home from work and distance yourself from friends and family.

Q: Is there anything I can do to feel better if I have the flu?
A: From fever, chills, nasal congestion and aches, the flu can cause you to feel miserable. The best thing to do if you are diagnosed with the flu is to manage your symptoms while the virus runs its course. It’s important to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Try using a humidifier to help with nasal congestion and use cough drops to help with your sore throat and coughing. Manage your fever by alternating pain relievers and when you have an appetite eat foods that are high in Vitamin C and protein.

Q. What should you eat when you have the flu?
A. The flu can cause a decreased appetite so it is best to eat small amounts of foods that can provide you with energy and nutrients to help with recovery. Focus on foods that are high in Vitamin C and protein and steer away from processed foods as they offer few nutrients. It is important to remain hydrated so sip on broths, low-sugar sports drinks, and herbal or ginger teas. Don’t drink caffeinated beverages as they can make you more dehydrated.