How to Know if You Have Quitter's Flu

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Quitter's flu is a slang term used to describe the flu-like symptoms that nicotine withdrawal can sometimes produce.

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can include:

  • Cravings to smoke
  • Irritability, crankiness
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Constipation, gas, stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore tongue and/or gums
  • Postnasal drip
  • Tightness in the chest

As you can see, most of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal could also be symptoms of a cold or the flu, so it can be hard to know whether you're sick or not.

Think about when you started feeling bad and if it coincides with when you quit smoking, it's probably nicotine withdrawal.  If the symptoms you're experiencing don't improve within a few days, or you are concerned about them, call your healthcare provider and go in for a check up.  

Also known as smoker's flu, it is important to note that quitter's flu is not a real sickness; it refers only to physical sensations we experience while detoxing from nicotine and the chemicals in tobacco that can mimic illness.

For most smokers, quitting tobacco will produce one or several symptoms of withdrawal. Remember that nicotine withdrawal is a temporary condition and is a sign of recovery from nicotine addiction. Better days are ahead, and they're not far off.

More reading: 7 Tips for Surviving Nicotine Withdrawal

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