What to Do for the Flu

The flu, or influenza, affects the respiratory (breathing) system as well as muscles and is due to a virus. There is a vaccine to prevent it, but the effectiveness depends on how close the viral strain that was used for. The good news is that as the flu is common, there are many ways available to treat it.

What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?

Symptoms

Flu symptoms tend to start suddenly, usually with an abrupt onset fever, fatigue, body aches, and headache. The following are some of the common symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Dry cough
  • Headache
  • Ill appearance (watery eyes, flushed red skin that is warm)
  • General weakness
  • Severe pains and aches around the eyes and in the muscles and joints
  • Fever (usually high)

The seasonal flu won’t generally include gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) in adults.

If you develop flu symptoms, talk to your doctor early on, so he can decide if you may need an antiviral medication. You must start the treatment as soon as possible following the appearance of symptoms for the highest effectiveness.

Complications

Seasonal influenza isn’t usually serious for young, healthy people. Despite feeling miserable, you won’t usually have any lasting effects. There is, however, the possibility of flu complications, particularly in high-risk adults and children. These include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia

The most common and serious complication is pneumonia and it can be deadly for those who are older or have chronic illnesses. The ideal protection is to take vaccine for influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.

What to Do for the Flu

Medications

OCT Medications

Antiviral Medications

Pain Relievers

Tamiflu (oseltamivir)

Decongestants

Relenza (zanamivir)

Antihistamines

Symmetrel (amantadine)

 

Flumadine (rimantadine)

Tips

  • ŸKeep in mind that you shouldn’t give aspirin to anyone under 18 years old due to the risk of Reye syndrome. You can also find over-the-counter flu preparations combining the various medications.
  • ŸSome medications, used for treating the actual viral infection, must be taken two days or less after your symptoms appear.

Home Remedies

Home Remedies

Description

Stay home and rest

Although you can go to school or work with the cold, you need to rest with the flu. Take several days off, so your body can recover. It is also considerate to stay home due to the contagiousness of flu. Don’t do vigorous exercise, but you can go for a bike ride or walk.

Keep your nose clear

You can prevent an ear or sinus infection by frequently clearing mucus from your breathing passage. To do so, blow your nose, invest in a neti pot, or opt for a hot bath, so the steam can loosen up the mucus.

Drink plenty of water

Fevers lead to dehydration, so you need to drink plenty of water to rehydrate. Opt for hot fluids such as warm water containing lemon or tea. They will hydrate you in addition to clearing your sinuses and soothing your throat. Avoid caffeinated beverages as they increase thirst and deplete nutrients and minerals. You can also drink hot broth or soup to get some nutrients even when your stomach is upset or you aren’t hungry.

Try echinacea and ginseng

Both of these herbs are linked to shortening your flu if you take them either before you get sick or while you have the flu. Either brew them into tea or find capsules containing them.

Dress in layers

It is common to feel hot one second, and to be cold a minute later. By dressing in layers, you can easily add or take away clothing to stay comfortable.

Take a hot shower

Try taking a hot shower that builds up lots of steam. This will relax you while moisturizing the nasal passages. You can get the same benefits by running a steamy shower while taking a sponge bath on a nearby chair if you are dizzy.

Use cold or hot packs on the congested sinuses

Both hot and cold temperatures can make you comfortable. Either purchase reusable cold or hot packs or make them. Frozen peas work as a cold pat and putting a damp washcloth in the microwave for a few seconds works as a hot one.

Don’t fly unless you must

Flying simply adds stress to the upper respiratory system due to the air pressure changes. If you fly while congested from the flu or cold, your eardrums may hurt due to the pressure changes of landing and takeoff. If you have to fly, use a nasal spray immediately before landing and takeoff, take a decongestant with you, and try relieving pressure by chewing gum or swallowing.

 

What Can Be Done to Prevent Flu?

1.    Take a Vaccine

  • Influenza vaccine. This is the easiest way to prevent getting the flu and it is 60 to 90% effective. You can get the vaccine before the flu season starts and it must be redeveloped each year. It will take your body about two weeks to develop full immunity. Anyone over six months can get it as it is made by an inactive virus.
  • Nasal spray vaccine. This vaccine takes advantage of a weakened live virus, so only healthy, non-pregnant people between 2 and 49 can take it. It can cause side effects to people with specific conditions like asthma and pregnancy.
  • Fluzone high-dose vaccine. This vaccine is designed for people over 65 and involves antigens that are four times the strength of those in the normal influenza vaccine. This is due to the fact that the elderly have weakened immune systems and therefore, they need a higher dose to provoke a response.

2.    Wash Hands Often

Wash your hands frequently for 15 seconds or more. You can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if you don’t have access to soap and water.

3.    Avoid the Crowd

Try to avoid larger groups of people, enclosed places and those who are sick. If you have to go out during the flu season, take disinfecting wipes with you. Use them to wipe down surfaces that may be infected. You can also use a respiratory mask to decrease the risk of inhaling the virus.

The video tells more ways to fight and prevent flu:

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