Get Better Faster With Zinc
Zinc lozenges can help you feel better faster if you start taking them as soon as you feel fluish, says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of the Mount SinaiNational Jewish Health Respiratory Institute in New York City and the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds & Flu. I recommend using one or two lozenges per day,” he says. Zinc may help boost immunity, which can shorten the duration or severity of the flu, he explains. However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health advises checking with your doctor or pharmacist first as zinc may interact with antibiotics and penicillamine, a drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Is It True That Getting Vaccinated Repeatedly Can Reduce Vaccine Effectiveness
A report examining studies from the 2010-2011 to the 2014-2015 seasons concluded that the effectiveness of a flu vaccine may be influenced by vaccination the prior season or during many prior seasons . In some seasons, protection against influenza A virus illness may have been lower for people vaccinated in the current season and the prior season compared with those who had only been vaccinated in the current season. This fits with findings on immune response to vaccination that suggest repeated influenza vaccination can weaken the immune response to vaccination and especially to the H3N2 vaccine component. However, repeated annual vaccination also can be beneficial during some seasons, since sometimes people retain and carry over immune protection from one season to the next. During some seasons, people who missed getting vaccinated still had residual protection against influenza illness.
What Are The Benefits Of Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen fever and flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day. They also may reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections in children, respiratory complications requiring antibiotics, and hospitalization in adults. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean having milder illness instead of more severe illness that might require a hospital stay. For adults hospitalized with flu illness, some studies have reported that early antiviral treatment can reduce their risk of death.
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Are Flu Vaccines Effective Against All Types Of Flu And Cold Viruses
Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against infection and illness caused by the four flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. Flu vaccines do not protect against infection and illness caused by other viruses that also can cause flu-like symptoms. There are many other viruses besides flu viruses that can result in flu-like illness* that spread during the flu season. These non-flu viruses include rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus , which is the most common cause of severe respiratory illness in young children, and a major cause of severe respiratory illness in adults 65 years and older.
What Are Other Ways To Treat And Prevent The Flu
Antiviral prescription medicines and an annual flu vaccine are available for treating and preventing the flu.
Prescription anti-flu medicines include amantadine , rimantadine , zanamivir and oseltamivir . These drugs do not cure the flu, but they can make the symptoms milder and make you feel better more quickly. They are only effective when used in the first 48 hours of flu-like symptoms.
These drugs are not needed for healthy people who get the flu. They are usually reserved for people who are very sick with the flu or those who are at risk of complications from the flu, such as people with long-term chronic medical conditions or older age.
Flu vaccine . Although there is currently no vaccine against the common cold, there is a vaccine to prevent the flu. The vaccine is available by both shot and nasal spray. It works by exposing the immune system to the viruses. The body responds by building antibodies against the flu. The flu shot contains dead flu viruses. The nasal spray contains live, but weakened, flu viruses. The nasal spray is only approved for healthy children and adults two to 49 years old and who are not pregnant.
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Preventing The Spread Of Flu
You can help stop yourself catching flu or spreading it to others with good hygiene measures.
Always wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, as well as:
- regularly cleaning surfaces such as your computer keyboard, telephone and door handles to get rid of germs
- using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- putting used tissues in a bin as soon as possible
You can also help stop the spread of flu by avoiding unnecessary contact with other people while you’re infectious. You should stay off work or school until you’re feeling better.
In some people at risk of more serious flu, an annual flu vaccine or antiviral medication may be recommended to help reduce the risk of becoming infected.
- difficulty sleeping
What Should I Do If I Think I Am Sick With Flu
If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you develop flu symptoms. Flu signs and symptoms can include feeling feverish or having a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.
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Keep Up Your Gym Routine If You Can
Working out with a cold might make you feel more worn down, but as long as youre the type to regularly exercise, keeping up with your workout schedule probably wont hurt your bodys cold-fighting ability, Ford says.
What will hurt, however, is failing to hydrate after your workout. If you manage to battle through your cold symptoms with a gym session, be sure to guzzle down all the water you sweated out and then some. Your body needs it.
Do Recent Vaccine Effectiveness Study Results Support Flu Vaccination
The large numbers of flu-associated illnesses and deaths in the United States, combined with the evidence from many studies that show flu vaccines help to protect against flu illness and its potentially serious complications, support the current U.S. flu vaccination recommendations. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October.
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Treatment: What You Need To Know
- Can flu be treated?Yes. There are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness.
- What are flu antiviral drugs? Flu antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against flu in your respiratory tract. Antiviral drugs are not sold over the counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
Can Antibiotics Help My Flu Symptoms
Antibiotics cannot help flu symptoms. The flu is caused by a virus, and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. Taking antibiotics needlessly may increase your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. If you get a secondary bacterial infection with the flu virus, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the secondary infection.
For more information, see Flu Treatment: Antibiotics or Not?
National Jewish Medical and Research Center: “Getting Well When You Have a Cold or the Flu.”Ã
CDC: “2011-2012 Influenza Season: Disease Activity ” “If You Have a Cold or Flu, Antibiotics Won’t Work For You! ” and “Seasonal Influenza: What You Should Know about Flu Antiviral Drugs.”
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Flu Facts ” “Antibiotics: When They Can and Can’t Help” and “Cough Medicine: Understanding Your OTC Options.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Common Cold: Treatment.”
WebMD Medical Reference: “Kids’ Cold Medicines: New Guidelines.”
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Do I Need To Go To The Emergency Room If I Am Only A Little Sick
No. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill.
If you have emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at higher risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice.
People experiencing any of these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish lips or face
- Ribs pulling in with each breath
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle pain
- Not alert or interacting when awake
- In children less than 12 weeks, any fever
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
What Causes The Flu
The flu is caused by flu viruses that spread from person to person. When someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks, they spray tiny droplets. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person may get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
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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.
Concerned What Youre Feeling May Be Covid
Both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu are highly contagious respiratory illnesses, which means they share some similar symptoms like high-grade fever, chills, cough, headache and more.
But there are some distinct differences, including how quickly symptoms set in, and cough type and severity. Also, there are some symptoms that are far more consistent with COVID-19 like shortness of breath or new loss of taste or smell.
If you want to know more, check out our post on . If you think you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can schedule a video visit to talk with a doctor about your symptoms and if you should .
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Chase Trouble Away With Chicken Soup
Chicken soup isn’t just warm and comforting. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that a compound in chicken soup called carnosine can help the body’s immune system fight off the flu in its early days. A previous study published in the journal Chest, suggested that chicken soup has an anti-inflammatory effect that may ease symptoms and shorten upper respiratory tract infections. Dr. Schachter notes that soup and other hot liquids, such as tea, have other benefits: They relieve nasal congestion, help you stay hydrated, and soothe inflamed membranes in your nose and throat.
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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Preventing The Stomach Flu
If you know the stomach flu is going around, take extra precautions. Avoid close contact with infected people if possible and wash your hands frequently.
Some basic ways to avoid getting the stomach flu include washing your hands regularly and getting plenty of rest. Here are additional methods of prevention:
- Use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand when possible.
- Use soap and water instead of hand sanitizer.
- Keep a sick family member isolated. Try to restrict them to one bathroom, and have the rest of the household use another.
- Wipe off shopping cart handles.
- Clean countertops and surfaces with a disinfectant spray, and be sure to wash clothes and bedding as well.
Vitamin Ccontaining Fruits And Vegetables
Vitamin C is an important nutrient to help boost your immune system, which is especially important when youre sick.
Your body absorbs nutrients like vitamin C more effectively from the foods you eat. Foods high in vitamin C include:
- red or green pepper
Though you can also take a vitamin C supplement.
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How Long Does Flu Last And Is It Serious
If you have flu, you generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected.
You should begin to feel much better within a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer.
You’ll usually be most infectious from the day your symptoms start and for a further 3 to 7 days. Children and people with weaker immune systems may remain infectious for longer.
Most people will make a full recovery and won’t experience any further problems, but elderly people and people with certain long-term medical conditions are more likely to have a bad case of flu or develop a serious complication, such as a chest infection.
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Add Moisture To The Air
Dry air can make your symptoms worse. A vaporizer or humidifier adds moisture to the air and can help loosen up congestion.
There are many types of humidifiers and vaporizers available on the market. Examples include cool-mist humidifiers and steam vaporizers. These can be found easily for a reasonable price at your local big-box store, pharmacy, or online.
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Treating The Flu With Tamiflu
Flu season means a lot of people are going to be getting sick. The CDC estimates that there have been 29 million flu cases, a quarter million hospitalizations, and 16,000 deaths so far this season. So, any treatment that can help with that would be very welcome.
Since the flu is a virus, antibiotics wont help because antibiotics only kill bacteria. There are however anti-virals that have shown some effect against the flu virus. People used to use drugs like amantadine to treat influenza, but it has two drawbacks. First, amantadine and similar medications were only effective against Influenza A and not Influenza B. Second, in recent years high rates of resistance have developed. As a result, these types of medications are rarely used anymore.
The medication that people would be most familiar with is Tamiflu . Oseltamivir and zanamivir belong to a class of medications called neuraminidase inhibitors which block infected cells from releasing more virus particles into your body.
But the real controversy of Tamiflu is whether it helps prevent the more serious complications of the flu. For example, does it prevent people who have the flu from developing a pneumonia? Does it prevent hospitalizations? Or death?
Using ILI instead of confirmed flu cases will affect how effective a treatment seems. Medications work best the sicker you are. So using ILI instead of confirmed flu cases will make medications seem less effective.
Causes Of The Stomach Flu
The stomach flu is usually caused by any number of different viruses that can attack your gastrointestinal system. Its not caused by the influenza virus, which gives you the seasonal flu.
Less often, bacteria can cause it, typically due to contaminated water or food that was prepared inadequately or in an unhygienic environment.
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I Think I Have Influenza Should I See A Doctor
Anyone at a higher risk of serious illness with flu-like symptoms should see their doctor as soon as possible.
Most people who are generally healthy wont need to see their doctor for the flu. As symptoms of the flu are similar to COVID-19, talk to your doctor about testing for COVID-19 infection.
If you have the flu, try to rest, maintain a good fluid intake, and manage your symptoms. This will help you recover and prevent dehydration. Your immune system will fight the infection and symptoms will usually clear up on their own.
If you do need to see a GP for your symptoms, make sure you call ahead first so they can make sure theres no one in an at-risk group around when you have your appointment.
When To Visit Your Gp
If you are otherwise fit and healthy, there’s usually no need to visit your GP if you have flu-like symptoms.
You should just rest at home until you feel better, while keeping warm, drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers if necessary.
In these cases, your GP may suggest taking antiviral medication.
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