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Are chills, fever, diarrhea and lower back pain symptoms of flu?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 299 Questions
my boyfriend came down with chills and a cold two weeks ago. He was given a zpack and started feeling better. Two nights ago he started having chills and a fever of 101 again. The fever only lasted through the night however now he is no exhausted he can barely get out of bed. He also has diarrhea and lower back pain. He is a 47 year old man that is otherwise in good health. Does this sound like like the flu? I should add he did have a flu shot this year and this time around he doesn't have any nasal or chest conjestion. Its mainly about the fatigue and headache and lower back pain
Posted Tue, 17 Apr 2012 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Vidya Muralidhar 14 hours later

Thanks for the query.

Flu refers to an infection caused by 'Influenza virus.' This virus commonly is responsible for upper respiratory infection.

On reading the query , I can think of this to be a viral fever, probably not influenza. Viral fevers generally present with symptoms of body pain , back pain , joint aches, fatigue and chills and rigors . It is common for one to feel weak and exhausted at this time.

Since the symptoms don't involve the nose, throat and the ears (upper respiratory infection) and since he is vaccinated against it, the chances of flu is less likely, but not completely ruled out.

The best thing to do , is to watch him carefully. The treatment for viral fever would be symptomatic. Give him analgesic and antipyretic such as TYLENOL three or four times a day to control fever. Check his temperatures regularly. Tepid sponging helps if the fever is not down with tylenol. You can sponge him with warm water as and when fever shoots up.

Also give him plenty of fluids like fruit juices, soups and water as much as possible. This will keep him hydrated and bring down his exhaustion as well. Avoid coffee, tea and aerated drinks.

Viral infections are self limiting infections. He can wait for a couple of days for complete recovery, ,may be for another 2-3 days. If the fever persists; fever and diarrhea does not come under control, he must see his doctor for an examination. He may need the following tests
1. Complete blood counts
2. Blood sugar
3. Urine routine and microscopy
4. stool routine examination and microscopy
5. Further tests for typhoid, malaria, other bacterial and viral antigen tests.

Proper rest , good food and lots of fluids are the vital to the improvement of the current infection.

I hope I answered your questions , I would be available for follow up questions as well.

Wish your partner speedy recovery.

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