Flu Symptoms – Why Does Stomach Flu Cause Your Joints and Muscles to Ache?
Contracting the Flu means going through some of the most unpleasant symptoms, while the virus works its way through the body. Along with most viruses, the symptoms can last for up to a week before it finally leaves the system, putting us through aches and pains, high temperatures and the usual coughing and sneezing. But why does our whole body seem to ache for the duration of the virus?
It is not unusual to think that we may have caught the common cold, rather than the Flu in the early stages, as both have very similar symptoms. A cough, a stuffy, runny nose and sore throat are all symptoms which could be suspected to be a cold or the Flu. However, once the fever hits and your body starts to ache all over, there is no denying that the Flu has taken hold.
Why Does The Body Ache?
It seems as if every joint and muscle in the body is aching when we get the Flu, but there is a very good reason for this. When the virus enters the system, our white blood cells stand to attention, ready to fight off the invader. Natural chemicals (cytokines) are released from the white blood cells when they are in fight mode, which causes inflammation in the joints and muscles and this causes the aching. Not only that, the immune system diverts the white blood cells away from their usual task of rebuilding muscles, to help fight off the infection, also making those areas sore and achy.
Does Everyone Feel The Same?
Surprisingly, not everyone will feel the same way. Some people don’t have the same aches and pains, even with the same virus. It depends on the age of the person. It seems that age can have a bearing on how severe the aches and pains can be during a Flu episode. An elderly adult will find it more difficult to fight off such viruses because their immune system isn’t as healthy as someone in their younger years and will therefore feel more of the aching and pain associated with the Flu.
The same can be said for people contracting the Flu who live in warm, sunny climates in contrast to those living in a colder area. The people living in the cold country will feel the aching far more than those in the warmer country, because the body naturally feels stiffer and more sore when it’s cold.
How To Ease Aches and Pains
If you are taking a painkiller, such as paracetamol or aspirin for the fever, then this will help to relieve your aches and pains too. A warm bath with natural herbs can also help to soothe those aching muscles, or even a gentle massage with some warm oils can work wonders to alleviate pain. Ensure that you drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the virus and prevent dehydration (which can also make you ache) and rest as much as you possibly can. Your body needs to be able to use energy to fight off the Flu virus, so don’t try to do all of the things you normally would, or it will take you a lot longer to get better!