Bay Area Medical Information
Joint Aches with the Flu

Joint painWhy are my joints aching?

While influenza is a virus that specifically targets the respiratory tract, it does have an impact on the total body causing fatigue, fever, and muscle and joint aches.

Joint aches occur from a form of mild arthritis that occurs with influenza. There are over 100 causes of arthritis, and a viral origin is one of these causes. In arthritis related to viral infections, immune complexes that form as a result of the body’s attempt to rid itself of the virus, may be deposited in the joints and result in a temporary arthritis. In this case, the virus itself does not settle in the cells, rather the body's own immune response to the virus causes the joint achiness. Once the virus is gone, the body's immune response settles down.

In general, arthritis resulting from a viral infection such as influenza:

              • Generally affects joints throughout the body

              • Often felt as joint achiness, rather than joint
                swelling, redness or tenderness

              • Usually is accompanied by a mild fever

              • Often begins gradually following viral infection

              • Not cured by antibiotics. It usually goes away on its own (14)

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Written by N Thompson, MSN, ARNP, Last updated April 2009

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