Does your body temperature rises up to 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit and remains consistent for 3 to 4 days? Are you regularly experiencing chest discomfort, cough, and headache? These are indications that you might be suffering from flu. Influenza, more commonly known as flu, is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. If you think you have flu, stay alert.
1 What is flu? Is it contagious? How do we prevent it?
Flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Patients usually feel sneezy, stuffed up, and extremely exhausted or fatigued. This viral infection attacks the nose, throat, and lungs and is very infectious in nature. The flu virus spreads by droplets, when people with flu sneeze, cough, or talk. It can also be transmitted by direct contact with the person, either before or during the time of infection. The best way to prevent contracting flu is by getting a flu vaccine yearly.
Flu can be prevented by frequently washing hands, wearing surgical masks, and by getting a yearly vaccine.
2 How do you know if you’re suffering from flu? Here are the symptoms
The symptoms of flu occur all of a sudden, between 24 and 30 hours after getting infected.
- A chilly sensation followed by fever during the early stage, with body temperature rising up between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and lasting for more than 3 days
- Severe headache
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing
- Body aches especially in joints
- Irritated, watery, red eyes
- Chest pain, chest discomfort, pressure in the chest
- Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting
3 However, in some cases, the following symptoms need immediate medical attention
- Severe chest pain or heaviness in the chest
- Severe headache, which is unbearable
- Dizziness while passing urine
- Vomiting, which is uncontrollable
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
The following symptoms in children need immediate medical care:
- Bluish or purplish skin color
- Difficulty in breathing
- Signs of dehydration
4 Treatment for the flu symptoms
Drink lots of fluids. You can also use lozenges or gargles to soothe pain in the throat but do not use them for more than a few days. A sore throat can also be treated by using saltwater gargle. Just add salt in warm water, then gargle.
If you need immediate relief from swollen, congested nasal passages, it is recommended that you use nasal spray to easily clear the nasal passages. Refrain from using it for more than 3 days to avoid rebound congestion.
Some doctors suggest using saline sprays instead of medicated sprays as they do not have any rebound or side effects. Saline sprays loosen thick mucus in nasal passage s and can also be used for a longer period of time. It is also recommended to blow your nose regularly.
Occasional cough can clear lung pollutants and phlegm but persistent cough should be treated with medications. Ask your pharmacist for a cough suppressant appropriate for the type of cough you have.
Take adequate rest and be stress-free
When suffering from flu, the body diverts its energy into fighting off the virus. Thus, the feeling of exhaustion and the need to rest and remain on bed stress free.
Apply hot or cold packs
Either hot or cold temperature may help you feel comfortable.
5 Medications for flu
It is always best to consult a doctor before taking any medications. You may be advised to take any of the following:
This is the only medication approved by the FDA. It is used for children under 1 year old and should be taken orally.
It is inhaled and should be given to patients 7 years of age or older.
This is given to patients more than 18 years of age.
NOTE: Please understand that antibiotics do not treat the flu.
Influenza is a viral disease so doctors will prescribe antiviral medications, whereas, antibiotics are given to cure bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily will cause the bacteria to become resistant. Antiviral medications do not cure the flu, although they reduce the severity and duration of the infection.
6 Natural and other ways to recover from flu
Keep yourself hydrated by drinking water, juice, or soup. One way to know if you have sufficient fluid in your body is to look at the color of your urine. The color of urine should be colorless or very light yellow.
Take an expectorant
While suffering from cold and flu, it is necessary to keep the mucus thin so that it does not stagnate and allow bacteria to breed. To avoid having dry and thick mucus, try taking expectorants like guaifenesin.
Try OTC analgesics
Fever is the body’s response to infections and helps in fighting off the virus. For fever and muscle aches, there are over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol and Advil which can reduce fever and ease body ache.
Breathe in aromatic steam
Add fresh ginger, eucalyptus oil, or Vicks VapoRub in hot boiling water and sniff the steam in. This can help you find relief from nasal congestion.
Flu and its complications
The effects of influenza are more severe and last longer than a common cold. People mostly recover within 2 to 3 weeks. It is a complicated disease and may develop into life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. The flu can worsen the condition of people suffering from heart problems, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and of people with weak immune system.