It is said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that’s certainly true when it comes to the flu. Unfortunately, no matter how much hand-sanitizer you use, how diligently you avoid public places or take your multi-vitamins; the flu is all around us this winter. Before you know how to address your fate, you need to know for sure that you have the flu and an accurate temperature measurement is the first sign.
Identifying the Flu
Many viruses and bacterial infections exist which mimic the flu and many of them will commence with a high fever. The CDC advises us that the most recent strain of the flu carries a high fever as one of its markers. Other signs include upper respiratory symptoms such as coughing, congestion, headache, body aches, severe fatigue, and chills. In certain individuals, especially children, nausea and vomiting may accompany these symptoms.
Coping with your Symptoms
Once it has been determined that you have the flu, and an accurate temperature measurement shows you have a fever within the expected range; you’ll want to ease your symptoms. Initially, sleep is the best balm to soothe your ravaged body. Treat your fever and body aches with an over-the-counter pain medicine and fever reducer. Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen are excellent choices.
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, with the majority of your fluid intake being water, juice, or non-caffeinated beverages. Soothing herbal teas, such as Echinacea and Chamomile, will provide comfort along with hydrating your body.
Now is not the time to count calories. You may not feel like feasting, but keeping your strength as you battle your way back to health is vital. Frequent mini-meals are a good way to provide your body with a steady infusion of nutrition. Clear soups, toast, applesauce, baked potatoes, and bananas are best if you are feeling nauseous.
Relieving your respiratory symptoms will help you rest, but some medications can add to feelings of general malaise. Try a natural approach initially, such as a mentholated vapor-rub, or steam-inhalation. If necessary, seek your pharmacist’s advice when choosing a decongestant/cough suppressant. Rarely are antibiotics called for. In a healthy person, the flu just needs to run its course, which typically takes 4-7 days.
When to Call Doctor
It is not necessary to call a doctor unless you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma or a heart condition. If your fever is uncontrollable, or rises rapidly seek immediate medical attention. Of course infants, small children, and the elderly should be seen by a physician at the onset of symptoms.
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Jake Alexander is a free lance writer who blogs about health and wellness. Follow him @JakeAlexander17