‘Tis the season for the flu. So far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between October 1, 2018, through January 19, 2019, there have been:
- 9.8 million to 11.4 million flu illnesses
- 4.6 to 5.4 million flu medical visits
- 113,000 to 136,000 flu hospitalizations
1. Know Your Facts
Flu and colds may seem the same, but they are different. The virus causing the flu can lead to serious complications (as mentioned above), whereas those of common colds will not.
Symptoms of the flu are worse than that of the common cold. Watch out for the sudden onset of fever with:
- Body and muscle aches
- A cough
- A headache
- A sore throat
Colds rarely come with a fever.
Some natural remedies are shown to help beat the common cold but don’t show much evidence against the flu. These are:
- Oral zinc products
- Rinsing the nose and sinuses with filtered/treated water (not tap water)
- Vitamin C
Some natural remedies may interact with each other.
2. Take Preventive Actions to Avoid Exposure
Avoid crowded and tight places. Use the stairs instead of the elevator if it’s packed (especially when you see someone coughing or blowing his nose).
Avoid being with sick people. If you are, avoid getting close to them. If you’ve touched them, avoid touching your mouth or nose without washing your hands first. Wear a mask.
3. Boost Your Immunity
Get the flu vaccine, preferably around October which marks the start of the flu season, especially if you belong to the high-risk groups.
The vaccine needs two weeks to start working. Most people receive their flu shot between December and March.
- Get plenty of rest and enough sleep. Your body needs the reserve energy to fight the bugs off your system.
- Eat healthy with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Drink lots of water.
- Keep warm and avoid exposures.
4. Stop the Spread of the Virus
If you are sick, avoid crowded places, so you don’t infect others. Stay home for at least 24 hours until you’re fever-free even without medicine.
The flu is most contagious in the first 3-4 days from the start of symptoms. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
Disinfect hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub especially after touching objects held in common use like doorknobs, drawer handles telephones or money.
5. Fight Back
You may need anti-viral drugs (most would not) if you belong to the high-risk group to prevent complications like:
- Sinus and ear infections
- Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
- Brain (encephalitis)
- Muscles (myositis)
- Multi-organ failure (respiratory or kidney failure)
Stay well hydrated and well rested.
We Can Help
Flu may be in season, but you don’t have to go with the fad. We look at the full picture of what you do to manage your health so we can provide you with the best care.