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Influenza or the flu is a contagious viral infection common enough that most people will contract the infection multiple times throughout their lives. The flu typically lasts 5 to 7 days, although lingering fatigue may last several weeks. Sometimes the flu requires medical attention, and in some cases can lead to serious complications such as viral pneumonia and sinus infections.

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1. Fever

Most flu cases begin with a fever that can last four or five days before breaking. A fever is the body's natural defense against the flu. Although a low-grade fever may occur in the case of colds, high temperatures are characteristic of influenza, reaching 102 degrees or higher. It can be hard to tell the difference between a common cold and influenza in children because their body temperatures are higher on average than adults, both when healthy and ill.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.