Along with the new year came a fierce flu season. In fact, thirty-six states reported severe flu activity already this year with the illness present in every state. Most people who contract the flu can recover with plenty of rest and liquids. However, Ira Riklis has learned that the flu of 2017-2018 is a more serious strain and should not be taken lightly, especially if those who contract it are at risk for developing complications.
Preventing The Flu
You’ve heard it time and again that if you don’t want to get sick wash your hands. This little piece of advice is very important and you will do well to listen. If you could only see the germs and bacteria that are present, you would wash your hands without hesitation. Another step in the prevention of contracting the flu is to avoid individuals who are sick. If you can’t completely avoid being around others who are sick, hand sanitizer becomes your best friend. You can also use disinfectant wipes or sprays to clean doorknobs, bathroom areas and any other areas that may contain bacteria. Finally, get the flu vaccination for yourself and for your children. The CDC reports that in past flu seasons, between 80 to 85 percent of children who have died from the flu had not been vaccinated.
Symptoms Of The Flu
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It is highly contagious which is why it spreads quickly. The flu can be mild or severe, and in extreme cases, can lead to death. The flu often appears suddenly and the symptoms can be confused with a common cold. People who’ve contracted the flu will experience all or some of these symptoms:
- Fever and chills
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Vomiting or diarrhea (this is more common in children)
When To See Your Doctor
The flu will usually last a few days to less than two weeks in most individuals. However, for some people, the flu will develop into more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia. Other complications of the flu include:
- Sinus Infection
- Ear Infection
- Worsening of Chronic Health Issues
Anyone can contract the flu and this includes healthy people. However, there are cases where an individual is in real danger if they contract the flu virus. You should seek medical attention if you:
- are pregnant
- 65 or older
- suffer from chronic health problems
- have a child who is very young suffering from the flu
- notice that your symptoms aren’t getting better and appear to be getting worse
If you think you should go to the doctor, then do so. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Recovering From The Flu
Most people will experience mild illness with the flu. The best action you can take at this point is to get plenty of rest and up your fluid intake. In addition to keeping you hydrated, liquids also thin the mucus secretions in the lungs. You can also do the following to recover faster:
- Drink hot tea. Choose your favorite tea and add honey for flavor and to soothe a sore throat. Tea contains theophylline which is a natural bronchodilator.
- Take an OTC pain reliever to relieve pain, reduce your fever, suppress a cough or to help with congestion.
- Enjoy some chicken soup. It contains an amino acid called cysteine which is released from chicken when cooked. Cysteine is similar to a common bronchitis drug. Chicken soup thins mucus, calms a cough and alleviates congestion.
The flu can be tough to deal with. Hopefully, you can prevent it, but if not, your well-being depends on the steps you take to get better and knowing when to see your doctor.