Ask Dr. Jen Tan

Fatigue and flu

An intense feeling of exhaustion is common when suffering from flu

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  • Brian Beck's photo avatar
    Brian Beck — 07.03.2018 16:00
    I've been battling the flu with antibiotics for the last two weeks. I'm an ultramarathoner, and had to pass on a 50k this past weekend just to make sure I was over the flu. I ran a quick 5 miles this morning and toward the end, legs felt tired, could be because of no running for two weeks. But I have a 50 miler in one month. Hoping I can be ready. Is the slight fatigue in my legs related to flu? My lungs felt good this morning, still have my fitness. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Jen Tan's photo avatar
      Jen Tan — 07.03.2018 18:13
      Hello Brian. You do run a lot of miles. Yes, flu can lead to muscle aches and fatigue and could be an explanation for your symptoms. The viral strains doing the rounds currently have a greater tendency for causing tiredness in general and it seems that even one as fit as you are will not be immune to this symptom. From what we have seen, tiredness and fatigue should settle well within one month of the initial infection. There will of course be other reasons for your symptoms which we are not able to rule out here so if your lingering symptoms are of concern, please seek further advice from your GP. Best of luck with your run in one month's time.

      Reply

    • Maggie Silver's photo avatar
      Maggie Silver — 08.03.2018 00:24
      You can't battle the flu with antibiotics-it's a virus. Antibiotics kill bacterial infections, they have no effect on viruses.

      Reply

  • Tyler's photo avatar
    Tyler — 05.03.2018 15:37
    I got the flu on 2/21/18. Last time I even had a cold was 10 years ago. I am normally a very healthy person with a strong immune system. My flu started with the sensation of being stuck with pins across my back and chest and in my lungs. Several hours later I experienced a weird hallucination of smelling rotting meat. It was so strong it woke me from sleep and I had to check the entire house for the source of the smell. The next morning I had a fever and severe headache. Then my eyes watered uncontrollably and I could not keep them open. Fever for 6 days. Stayed between 100-102 the entire time. I am over the worst part, but I still have a little bit of a lingering cough which isn't too bad. The worst part is the exhaustion and the constant feeling of being nauseated. I feel like every single ounce of energy has been drained from my body. I feel "off balance" and my appetite still has not recovered. I'm not myself at all and I'm starting to get depressed because I have no energy to do anything but work and go home to bed. I feel like I will never be the same again.

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    • Debbie's photo avatar
      Debbie — 15.03.2018 21:04
      I got influenza b 3 weeks ago. I am over the flu symptoms now and am back to work but I am exhausted. I can't even make it through a full day. Have to go home at lunch hour and sleep. I am taking 2 hour lunches just to get through the day. And I understand the "off balance" feeling. It's awful and I too feel like I am never going to recover. It is actually comforting to hear someone else is going through this and its not just me. I wonder how long it takes to get our normal strength back.

      Reply

    • Tyler's photo avatar
      Tyler — 19.03.2018 13:15
      Hi Debbie, I hope you are feeling better. It's now been almost a month since I got sick with the flu. I am STILL not right. The feeling of being "off balance" is still with me. I still have a lot of fatigue. The nausea is a bit better though, thankfully. It's not constant like it was, but I still get bouts of it during the day. Will I ever feel the way I did BEFORE the flu again? I felt strong and happy and healthy before the flu. Life looked good. Now I'm totally off balance, depressed and anxious. I feel like this flu has fundamentally changed me.

      Reply

    • Denise's photo avatar
      Denise — 24.03.2018 19:51
      I got the flu early Feb and still have not recovered. I am now on a sick leave from work. The fatigue is overwhelming. Anxious also. Sick about 6 weeks now.

      Reply

    • Glenda's photo avatar
      Glenda — 05.04.2018 08:51
      I got the flu about 4 weeks ago, coughing was the worst part - that has almost gone but the exhaustion is about to get the better of me! I normally don't need a lot of sleep but feel like I could sleep all day! Muscles feel weak - dizzy - balance is off. I thought it was just because I am getting older (59) but this is not like me at all! How long does this exhaustion last? Fortunately I work from home so I can lay down when I get really tired!

      Reply

    • Jen Tan's photo avatar
      Jen Tan — 06.04.2018 16:14
      Hello Glenda. Tiredness is a significant feature of the viral infections going round at the moment. Our experience is that most will get their full strength back within 6 weeks of the initial infection - so with some luck, it won't be too long before you start to feel more like your normal self.

      Reply

  • Josh's photo avatar
    Josh — 28.02.2018 12:28
    I think I've had the flu for about 5 days now,I woke up feeling kinda off and within a few hour I was dripping with sweat and nearly vomiting.. had watery diarrhoea for 3 days or So, really bad headache with really bad fever, my head was so hot.. but my body was so cold that I had to wrap up warm even though when I touched my body it was really hot and I was sweating loads, the fever and headache has kind of subsided now but hasn't completely gone.. but I'm left feeling kind of nauseous and tired. Is this something normal or something more serious, note I am only a 20 year old male.

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    • Josh's photo avatar
      Josh — 28.02.2018 12:49
      Oh yes I also had stomach pain and really tired legs asif I had run a marathon the first day I came down with it,still have abit of stomach pain but mainly nausea and fatigue now

      Reply

    • Jen Tan's photo avatar
      Jen Tan — 28.02.2018 13:50
      Hello Josh. The symptoms you describe fit to a severe bout of flu. The current strains going round appear to cause more tiredness and lethargy than previous viruses and some have also reported digestive symptoms similar to yours. What we see is that symptoms should start to improve in the next few days but if this is not the case, or if they worsen or new symptoms develop, please seek further advice from your doctor locally.

      Reply

    • Emily's photo avatar
      Emily — 09.03.2018 19:31
      The flu (influenza) generally does not cause vomiting, diarrhea or other GI distress in adults. It is predominantly a respiratory virus - cough, congestion, along with body aches, fever and extreme fatigue. You are generally floored by it, like hit by a truck feeling. The cough and fatigue can last for weeks. It sounds like you could have a different virus, or a gastrointestinal bug. The only way to know is to get a flu test at the beginning of the illness, which I'm sure you're past now. I hope you're better!

      Reply

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