Signs that you may have the flu

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – Several East Tennessee school districts were closed Friday due to illness and a few more were canceling school days extending into next weekend.

Grainger County Schools and the Day By Day learning center are among them, now closed Monday and Tuesday.

Morgan and Union County Schools are closed Monday, as well.

Right now, so many of Dr. Michael Green's patients are suffering from flu-like symptoms that his office has temporarily run out of rapid flu tests to positively identify it.

"Well, we have been so inundated by either people who think they have the flu, or that we suspect have the flu, or actually have the flu, that we are completely out of our flu test," said Dr. Green, who practices internal medicine.

Since influenza is a virus, most people don't seek medical care when they think they have the flu,
but according to Dr. Green, that's a mistake that could cost you several extra days off work.

"If you have the true flu, there is medication that helps,” he said, “so early detection and early treatment, can make a vast difference on the severity and length of influenza."

There are some symptoms that may signify a more severe and complicated attack of the flu.

You should see a doctor if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or a persistent fever.

"You can have a low grade fever with a regular illness, like a cold,” said Dr. Green. “A really high fever, the definition of that would be something over about 100.5, we consider that an actual fever."

Other symptoms can include vomiting or inability to keep fluids down, painful swallowing, persistent coughing, persistent congestion and headaches.

Complications may also develop from the flu.

Remember, if any of your symptoms suddenly worsen, seek care in a hospital's emergency room.

Antiviral medicines, such as Tamiflu can shorten the course of the flu, but only by about one

And you need to take the medicine within two days of getting sick for it to work.

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