The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. You can get infected through germs that are either airborne or transmitted by touch.
The flu is nothing to fool around with. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times even leads to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot each year and washing your hands regularly. In the event you do catch the flu, however, there are some strategies for dealing with it as best as possible.
Be smart in your treatment.
If you get sick with flu symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with other people. Seems logical, right? Many people still go to work, however, thinking they can beat it. Big mistake. If your symptoms remain longer than 24 hours, you need to act – quickly – and this requires seeing a doctor.
If you come to a STAT Health location, you’ll have only a short wait time before meeting with a high-quality doctor who can examine you.
Remedies – old and new.
Once identified, the flu can be treated with bed rest, fluids, and fever reducers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, among others. There are also antiviral medications that can shorten the duration and severity of the flu. But you have to take it within 48 hours of symptoms. Some scientific research suggests certain soups (chicken soup, in particular), can help reduce inflammation associated with colds and flu, and thus provide some symptom relief. The hot steam from the soup helps relieve mucus buildup in the nose, and the salty broth helps keep you hydrated. While chicken soup won’t truly cure a cold or flu, the benefits listed above make it a good choice when you’re feeling less than your best. There’s something about chicken soup that just works. (Science now proves it!)
Left unchecked, the flu can result in serious health problems such as pneumonia, which will then require hospitalization. The flu is a gateway illness that could feasibly lead to other ailments. The idea is to treat the flu seriously, so it will not progress to anything worse.
Get to a doctor quickly, follow the treatment plan, and let the illness run its course until you are yourself again.