At first glance, the symptoms of the flu and appendicitis can be quite similar. Not only do symptoms present similarly, but patients tend to ignore them or mistake them for each other. In fact, some people even put off going to the hospital for appendicitis because they simply don't know that they have a condition that requires surgery. Understanding the symptoms of each condition could be the difference between life and death.
Causes of Flu and Appendicitis
The flu comes about through physical contact with something that has been infected with the virus that will then attack the intestines. Sometimes this contact is with another person, food, or water that has been infected or contaminated.
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, part of the digestive system, becomes inflamed and infected. This can happen to anybody at any time unless they have their appendix removed.
Symptom of Flu and Appendicitis
Symptoms of the flu include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and intense stomach cramps. Flu includes a fever, aching muscles, and sometimes intense fever. These symptoms usually come about within two days of becoming exposed to a virus. Additionally, the condition typically lasts up to 10 days.
Appendicitis comes with sudden and gradually increasing symptoms. Abdominal pain often begins around the belly button and moves toward the right side of the stomach. The pain is usually worse when you move. You might also lose your appetite, vomit, or feel nausea.
Treatment of Flu and Appendicitis
Without treatment, both conditions can worsen over time. For example, the flu can lead to dehydration that has a slight risk of being fatal. Appendicitis is also serious, as a rupture can lead to an abscess or fatal condition.
Diagnosis is not difficult for appendicitis. The doctor may take a stool sample, urine test, CT scan, or blood test. Flu may be confused with a number of other health conditions.
Flu is treated with rest and fluids. As the stomach condition improves, it is easier to eat more bland foods without experiencing nausea. On the other hand, appendicitis typically requires surgery and may involve the use of painkillers and antibiotics.
Ultimately, only of these conditions is really preventable. If you are afraid of the flu, you have options like a flu shot and good hygiene. You can also avoid sharing food and utensils. It is more difficult to avoid appendicitis, but doctors do recommend a high-fiber diet. If you are concerned that you have either condition, it is important that you reach out to a family practice right away.