Q. How do we get flu?

Answered by
Dr. Arul Amuthan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 10, 2016 and last reviewed on: Feb 19, 2020

Hi doctor,

Why do we always have runny nose when we catch flu or cold? How do we get flu? I have headache and fever for almost a week. My tongue is sometimes white and lymph is a bit painful to touch but not swollen. Are these the symptoms of flu?



Welcome to

  • When we get viral or bacterial infection in the nasal tract (upper respiratory tract- nose to throat), the local mucus membrane gets irritated. It leads to more secretion from mucus membrane and that leads to running nose.
  • The fluid is secreted to eliminate the bacteria or virus from the nasal tract to out of the body. This attempt is the natural way of eliminating infections from nose.
  • If we allow this running nose (with proper hygiene), the infection will be self-controlled in three to five days.
  • If we take some drugs to stop the running nose, it means we allow the bacteria to grow in the nasal tract. So, we always get running nose during infection in nasal tract.
  • The flu is 99 % due to viral infection. Those viruses need not be killed always.
  • Body will eliminate the virus through running nose (fluids) mechanism. Our body also develops immunity (antibody) against these viruses to fight next time.
  • We should improve our own immunity by proper food, lifestyle, herbals and drugs to prevent such flu. With good immunity, the flu may stay for half a day. Within the time, our body could kill the infections.
  • The flu is associated with many other symptoms such as fever, headache, white tongue, lymph pain, join pain, body muscle pain, excess tiredness, etc. If the starting symptom was running nose or sneezing or throat pain followed by your present symptoms, then high possibility of flu.
  • If the fever, headache and lymph pain started as the first symptom then it may not be due to flu. It may be due to some other infections especially in the oral area.
  • The bacteria or virus infection in the oral area are drained by the lymphatic system (natural police of body) and fight in the lymph node. Lymph node pain means there must be infection the near vicinity.
  • Very rarely, there is a lymph node pain without infection. But in this case, the lymph node pain will continue for more than six months. This may be due to some autoimmune disease or lymphocyte disease.

For further information consult a family physician online -->

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
How can running nose be effectively treated?

.. upper respiratory tract infection, You need to take the following tablets: Tablet Ibuprofen 400 mg two times a day times five days after food, tablet Deslor (Desloratadine) one a day times five days after food, tablet Rabeprazole 20 mg two times...   Read full

Why does running nose, sneezing and blocked nose happen?

 You can take tablet Allegra M (combination of Montelukast and Fexofenadine) twice daily for about three days ...   Read full

Swine Flu Virus

.. A virus which is the causative pathogen for swine flu. There have been seasonal outbreaks every year. The reason being, it is contagious, and mutations in the virus strain put everyone at risk every season. Awareness about this disease and its tra...   Read full


Also Read Answers From:

Also Read

Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya Breathing Technique
Sudarshan Kriya is a type of breathing exercise that connects the mind with the body through breathing. Consult a specia...  Read more»
Health Benefits of Meditation
Anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression are the major problem these days. Meditation can be a solution to all these pro...  Read more»
Sporting Events During the Pandemic
If you are into any sporting event and plan a trip to an outdoor or indoor stadium, or you are an organizer or an athlet...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a Wellness Expert online?

Ask a Family Physician Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.