The flu is making its rounds again this year and many are doing what they can to avoid it. To be clear, flu is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu usually appears in the winter and early spring and it attacks the body in the lower or upper respiratory tract. According to Dr. Robert Lufkin, urgent care doctor at Doctors Express in St. Petersburg, the best way to beat the flu is to get your flu shot each year.
Some have a hard time discerning between the flu and a cold. The flu is similar to a cold; however, the symptoms of flu are much worse. Just getting out of bed, when you have the flu, is difficult and unthinkable because you feel so bad. When a person has the flu, he or she has a fever, has severe aches in their joints and muscles, feels very tired, weak, has a dry cough and headache and a sore throat and runny nose.
Children who come down with the flu often vomit or have diarrhea. In some cases, the flu can become severe; especially if you experience the following symptoms: trouble breathing, shortness of breath, pain or pressure in your chest or belly or sudden dizziness, confusion or severe vomiting.
Other symptoms of the flu that affect some are: chills and fatigue. Even though many come down with the flu each year, there are things you can do that can prevent you from getting it such as resting and getting a good night’s sleep.
Rest and sufficient sleep will keep your immune system strong; which is also a plus factor in preventing other illnesses such as a cold, bronchitis and certain infections. Another way to prevent the flu is by washing your hands often; using anti-bacterial soap and hot water. In addition, taking a multivitamin and a vitamin C supplement can also help. (Before taking a vitamin C supplement, talk with your doctor first.)
Most importantly, be sure to get a flu shot especially if you are at a higher risk in getting the flu such as being elderly or if you are suffering from a chronic lung disease. Others who are at a higher risk for the flu are children under the age of 2 and those whose immune systems are low such as those who are diabetic and those who suffer from a food allergy or who are anemic. It is also important to avoid stress whenever possible because stress can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to this kind of illness.
If you should come down with the flu there are several things you can do that will help such as staying home and avoiding contact with others and if you need to leave home to get medical care, be sure to wear a face mask or cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
Of course, washing your hands often will keep you from spreading the flu to others. Keeping warm in bed is most important; it may prevent the flu from spreading into your lungs. Your doctor can also prescribe antivirals that can make you feel better and may prevent serious complications.
To conclude, the flu can be a serious health condition; one that in some cases can be prevented by washing your hands often, staying away from crowds when possible, getting good sleep, avoiding stress when possible and taking a multivitamin and vitamin C. The flu is a serious health concern; so follow the above preventative measures and stay healthy and well! If your symptoms become severe, talk with your doctor!