Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
There are lots of studies that suggest vitamin C and zinc can ease cold symptoms and maybe shorten the illness — but there isnât a lot to show that they help treat the flu.
Mayo Clinic: âFitness â âFever â âGinseng â and âCold remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Can’t Hurt.â
Medline Plus: âFever.â
Stanford University Vaden Health Center: âWhat You Should Know About Medications.â
National Center for Biotechnology Information : âHomeopathic Oscillococcinum for Preventing and Treating Influenza and Influenza-Like Syndromes.â
Lissiman, E.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2009 issue 3.
Johns Hopkins: âSymptoms and Remedies.â
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.
Looking After Yourself When You Have Influenza
The best things you can do to look after yourself when you have the flu are:
- Rest you will probably feel very weak and tired until your temperature returns to normal . Rest provides comfort and allows your body to use its energy to fight the infection.
- Stay at home stay away from work, school and any places where you may have contact with others, especially while you are contagious. The period during which adults are contagious is usually around 35 days from when the first symptoms appear, and up to 7 days in younger children.
- Drink plenty of fluids extra fluids are needed to replace those lost because of the fever . If your urine is dark, you need to drink more. Try to drink a glass of fluids, such as water, every hour while you are awake.
How To Prevent Flu
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu and spreading it to others.
It’s best to get the vaccine in early October- the start of the flu season.
You should get the flu vaccine every year to lower your risk of getting the flu virus. This is because the type of types of flu viruses that are circulating every year are different.
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What About Influenza Complications
In some cases of the flu, severe illness, and complications can develop. This can result in hospitalisation and even death.
People at higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu include:
- people with chronic medical conditions.
The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.
How Is The Flu Treated
In most cases you can treat the symptoms of a mild flu yourself. Most people will get better by themselves within 7 to 10 days and without any treatment.
Some things you can do to relieve flu symptoms include:
- getting plenty of rest
- drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids to prevent dehydration
- keeping warm
- eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke if possible
- inhaling steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room to help relieve a blocked nose remember to always directly supervise children near hot water
If you have a sore throat, try:
- gargling with warm salty water
- sucking on an ice cube, ice block or a throat lozenge
- drinking hot water with honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice
There are also several medicines available to ease cold and flu symptoms, such as pain and fever.
If you are sick with the flu, stay home and avoid close contact with other people until you feel better.
Antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria. As the flu is caused by a virus, taking antibiotics will not help you get better faster or stop you from spreading it to other people.
Taking antibiotics can cause side effects like an upset stomach, diarrhoea and thrush. When you take antibiotics for the cold or flu, you also increase the risk of antibiotic resistance in the future.
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Can The Flu Shot Give You The Flu
This is such a doctor thing, but every year I get excited when the flu vaccine arrives. For me, it signals the start of the holiday season. And, I want everyone to get through the season all the way from Halloween to Valentines Day and the fun in between without getting sick.
An estimated 80,000 people died last year from the flu the flu can be incredibly dangerous so, its satisfying to me that a simple intervention like a shot or a nasal spray can prevent such a serious illness. Thats why I ask every one of my patients, Have you gotten your flu shot?
Sometimes I have a patient who refuses the flu vaccine. Often this is because they mistakenly believe that the vaccine will give them the flu. They or someone they know through the grapevine got a flu shot in the past and then got sick, leading them to conclude that the flu shot was to blame.
Im not discounting their symptoms they might indeed have had the cold or the flu but it wasnt from the flu vaccine. In fact, if they hadnt gotten the vaccine, they mightve gotten a lot sicker.
You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shots contain either dead flu viruses or they contain proteins from the flu virus not the virus itself. The flu nasal spray vaccine uses flu viruses that are altered so they cant give you the flu.
Bottom line: The flu vaccine doesnt cause the flu it helps prevent it.
The Beginning: Symptom Onset
The timeline between exposure, infection and the first signs of flu symptoms is typically about two days, but can range from one to four days.
When you start to feel sick, it seems sudden. And if youre like many people, the first symptoms you notice may be fever or chills, which are followed quickly by headache, muscle aches, cough and/or extreme tiredness.
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Dont Give Children Aspirin
When the fever hits it can cause a headache and people desperate for relief might try aspirin. But aspirin, and other drugs called salicylates, can cause a serious complication in children under 18 known as Reyes syndrome. This can lead to problems with the liver and brain.
Whitely-Williams recommends acetaminophen or ibuprofen for reducing fever. But be very careful about reading labels of any over-the-counter or prescription medications you take, especially if you’re combining medications overdoses can lead to serious complications.
As for adults taking aspirin or other fever reducers, a 2014 study using math projections suggested it may actually make the infection last longer and increase your risk of spreading the infection.
“An individual whose fever has been reduced is likely to feel better and is therefore more likely to interact with others,” the researchers from McMaster University in Ontario wrote. “In addition, fever suppression may increase both the rate and duration of viral shedding, further increasing the pathogen’s transmission rate.”
Is An Antiviral Drug A Commonly Used Flu Treatment
Antiviral flu drugs are taken to decrease the severity and duration of flu symptoms. In some cases they may be used to prevent flu. They includeÃ baloxavir marboxil ,Ã oseltamivir , peramivir , or zanamivir .
Ideally, the first dose should be taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. Talk to your doctor, if you are at increased risk for complications from the flu. People at high risk include infants, elderly, those with chronic illnesses, pregnant women, those with weak immune systems. Native American and Alaskan Natives. Most antivirals do have side effects.
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Antibiotics: Too Much Of A Good Thing
The fewer antibiotics we all take, the better for ourselves and the whole planet.
Although antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, they can miss bacteria like Clostridium difficile . After taking antibiotics, you could get a C. diff infection, which causes diarrhea and can require emergency medical attention. Antibiotics can also cause abdominal pain and yeast infections like vaginosis or thrush.
Overuse of antibiotics also contributes to the rise of super bugs, or antibiotic resistant bacteria. So, avoiding antibiotics when possible is one way to promote good health globally.
How To Get The Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.
The flu vaccine is given to people who:
- are 50 and over
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in a long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections
- frontline health or social care workers
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
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There Are Many Ways To Get It
You have a lot of options in terms of where you can receive the flu shot. We usually suggest that people reach out to their primary care doctor’s office first, said Dr. Kirley. Primary care physician offices usually have lots of options for how you can come in and get your flu shot, but there are other places as well.
This year, we’re going to see a real decline in employers offering the flu shot with so many people working from home. Thats definitely a concern for me, she said. There’s going to be a big awareness push to help people find where they can get their flu shots.
Read about the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions push to vaccinate 65% of Americans against the flu.
Can The Flu Be Prevented
There is a vaccine available for the flu, and its recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccination every year.
Flu viruses circulating in the community continually change, and the immunity provided by the vaccine doesnt last a long time. That’s why yearly vaccination is recommended.
For more information about the flu vaccine, see Flu Vaccine FAQs.
Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with traces of these viruses including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards.
Good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and flu and to prevent them from spreading.
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Which Flu Treatment Should I Take To Lower My Fever And Body Aches
Children under 19 should avoid aspirin. Acetaminophen or medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen are over-the-counter options for fever and pain relief. Each medication has risks. Check with your doctor or pharmacist as to which medication may be suitable for you.
Be careful not to overdose! These drugs are often mixed in with other multi-symptom cold and flu remedies you may also be taking. They may also be ingredients in other prescription medicines you may be taking. Your pharmacist can help you check for drug ingredients and interactions.
Surgical And Respiratory Masks
If you’ve recently walked into a doctors waiting room, or even your local mall, youve probably seen people wearing paper masks over their mouths and noses.
In our office, we now routinely hand out masks to people who come in with flu-like symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, and/or fever, Lipman says.
While most studies on masks have been done in healthcare settings, some suggest they may help stave off flu in other situations, too.
One University of Michigan study, for example, found that college students living in dorms who wore face masks and practiced good hand hygiene for six weeks had lower rates of flu-like illnesses than those who didnt.
The mask may help block the flu virus, which travels through the air in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, Lipman explains. It may also help prevent you from passing the virus from your hands to your mouth or nose.
If youre at high risk of flu complicationsfor example, youre over age 65 or have a compromised immune systemconsider wearing masks whenever you are in a crowded area, such as a full movie theater, Lipman says. And wear one if you’re sick and are going to be around other people, or are caring for someone with the flu.
Last, consider a mask if you’re going to a doctor’s office, or if you’re traveling on an airplane, especially if people around you seem sick.
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Can You Prevent Influenza
Yes. If you get the flu vaccine, you are likely to be protected from the flu for the duration of the flu season. The vaccine is given as a shot or a nasal spray. You must get the vaccine every year in the fall to be protected. Sometimes the vaccine does not prevent you from getting the flu but makes the flu less severe if you do get it. The vaccine is safe, even for pregnant women. You cant get the flu from the flu shot.
In addition, some of the antivirals given to treat flu can be given to prevent flu in people who are in close contact with people who actually have the flu.
Because the flu is so contagious, you can do other things that may help you prevent getting or spreading the flu:
- Practice good hand-washing hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. If you arent able to use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid being around other people when you do not feel well, especially when you have a fever.
- Avoid being around sick people whenever possible.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Eat well, exercise, and get enough rest.
- Consider taking a multivitamin and possibly vitamin D supplements to support your immune system.
Why Can’t I Take An Antibiotic Just In Case
Aside from the fact that an antibiotic won’t work unless your illness is bacterial in nature, there are significant problems with the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
For one, it upsets your body’s balance of beneficial bacteria, which may lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea and the development of an allergic reaction to the drug.
It also leads births antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. When bacteria are exposed to an antibiotic, many are killed, but some that are resistant to the drug’s effects usually remain. In other words, the antibiotic kills off the weakest bacteria while the stronger resistant bacteria continue multiplying. With this, the bacteria develop the ability to beat the drugs designed to kill them off.
The eventual result can be superbugsbacteria that become resistant to several types of antibiotics. These are very hard to kill and may only succumb to extremely powerful versions of these drugs. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 2.8 million people are infected by these superbugs every year in the U.S., with at least 35,000 people dying from them.
The powerful antibiotics needed for killing superbugs are much more costly and pose a greater risk of significant adverse effects that may require hospitalization. Some superbugs go on to cause devastating and even fatal infections that are incurable with current antibiotics.
Examples of antibiotic-resistant superbugs include:
- Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter
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Which Treatment Should I Use For Nasal Congestion
If you need immediate relief for swollen, congested nasal passages, you may get relief with an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray. It is important to stop using decongestant nasal sprays after three days to avoid the development of rebound congestion.
Some doctors suggest using a saline spray instead of a medicated spray. Saline sprays loosen thick mucus in the nasal passageways but have no rebound effect. They may be used for extended periods of time without significant side effects.
Dont Drink A Hot Toddy
While alcohol makes people feel drowsy, it doesnt lead to good sleep and can contribute to dehydration.
Resting up and staying hydrated are both needed to help people recover from the flu. What more, booze can make people feel worse.
Flu can often make people feel very sick and that can include making people feel very delirious and something that can affect your thinking is not recommended, said Safdar.
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How Is Influenza Diagnosed
It is hard to know for sure you have the flu on based on symptoms alone. A doctor’s exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu. If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness because you are at high risk for complications or any other reason, you should talk to your healthcare provider. There are tests that can determine if you have the flu as long you are tested within the first two or three days of illness and many providers use antiviral medications when they are confident of the diagnosis.
How The Flu Is Treated
Knowing what to do when you have the flu can get you on the road to feeling better sooner, and it can help protect those around you from also becoming infected with the influenza virus.
For most people, flu symptoms can be relieved with home remedies or over-the-counter medications. The symptoms usually last between three and seven days . In general, antivirals are not recommended, but if you are in a high-risk group, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help prevent complications.
Those at high risk for flu complications include:
- Adults age 65 and over
- Children under age 5
- Children with neurological conditions
- Pregnant women
- People who have asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease, liver disorders, kidney disorders, HIV/AIDS, or blood disorders
- People who have disabilities
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