Influenza, commonly known as the “flu,” is an extremely contagious respiratory illness. Major flu causes include influenza A or B viruses. The flu attacks, usually in winter and early spring. The flu virus hits the body by attacking through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract.
The common cold and flu are both contagious viral infections of the respiratory tract, although the symptoms resemble, but the flu is worse. A cold may drag you down a bit, but the flu can make you shudder at the very thought of getting out of bed.
Signs of Flu
The flu symptoms usually develop within one to three days of becoming infected. Most people feel better within a week after getting affected. However, you may have a lingering cough and may feel very tired for a further couple of weeks. Flu can be identified with any of the following symptoms:
- a sudden fever – a temperature of 38C (100.4F) or above
- a dry, chesty cough
- a headache
- tiredness and weakness
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- diarrhoea or abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- a sore throat
- a runny or blocked nose
- loss of appetite
If you are down with the flu, knowing the action plan may help you feel better earlier and also prevent others from becoming sick.
- Caring for a person with flu-
- Know common flu symptoms and when to seek medical care.
- Have the sick person rest and lie down if running a fever.
- Allow the sick person to judge what bed covers are needed. When fever is high the person may feel very cold and want more blankets.
- Use flu medication for reducing fever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen after consulting your physician. Follow the package label or your health care provider’s suggestion for reducing fever, headache, and muscle, joint, or eye pain.
- Make the sick person drink water as much as he or she can.
- Give light foods as the person wants. Fluids are essential than food in the initial days when the fever is at its highest.
- Do not smoke around a sick person.
- Have the sick person gargle. Use lozenges or hard candy for a sore throat.
- Clean your hands before and after caring for a sick person, and also after coughing or sneezing. In fact, the infected person should clean his hands too.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs usually spread this way.
- You should wear a mask while caring for a sick person.
- When to seek medical care- Call your health care provider within 48 hours if you or anybody else is down with flu:
- Have common flu symptoms.
- Have symptoms like not able to drink enough fluids, dark urine or feeling dizzy when standing are symptoms of not having enough fluids, fever of 100°F or higher for more than 3 days, then feels better, and then gets a fever or a sore throat
- Go for a medical care if you have shortness of breath, coughs up blood, pain or pressure in the chest while breathing, feeling chest pain especially if have heart disease like angina or congestive heart failure, the problem in maintaining body balance, walking or sitting up, or becoming confused.
Natural flu Remedies
Here are some of the natural remedies for the flu:
- Drink liquid – The flu can leave you dehydrated, especially if you have vomiting or diarrhea. So ensure to take enough fluids. The water is fine, fruit juices and electrolyte beverages are also advisable.
- Be a couch potato- Listen to your body and its needs. If it’s saying not to exercise, then don’t. If it’s asking you to spend all day in bed, then do it like that. The rest is another way of promoting the body’s ability to fight infection.
- Humidify- Breathing moist air assists easing nasal congestion and sore throat The best method is to use a steam vaporizer. Clean it regularly to ensure it’s free from germs.
- Make a tent- Take a container of water to a boil and then remove it from the heat. Cover your head with a towel, close your eyes, and lean over the water under the tent, breathe deeply through your nose for 30 seconds (you can also call it as taking steam)
Most of these remedies have been helping to control the symptoms and may also help you feel better while your body fights the virus.
It’s good to visit your doctor at the first signs of flu body aches and a fever over 102 degrees F. Antiviral flu drugs that you get from your doctor may shorten your illness, but you have to take them within 48 hours after symptoms start.