What to do if you get the flu

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What to do if you get the flu: ways to lessen symptoms

We've all faced those days: congested, brain hammering away, difficulty even getting out of bed. Influenza, known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory ailment caused by the influenza virus. When you got it, you know it.

While similar in nature to the common cold, symptoms usually are much more severe. So, you've woken up looking like a zombie from the Night of the Living Dead -- What now?

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough

What to do if you get the flu? Below, we'll delve into a variety of ways in which to cure yourself of the ills that go along with dealing with this unfortunate malady.

First and Foremost

How about avoiding it in the first place? Certain measures can be taken in order to limit exposure potential to type A influenza during the peak winter months, usually ranging from late fall into early spring. Type A is what most people describe as the "flu virus." Type B is a milder form which happens to be active all year-round.

Good personal hygiene can be a way to keep the infection at bay; for those with weakened immune systems -- those with diabetes, seniors, young children, etc. -- the vaccination is a must.

Each year, the vaccination will include the two most active strains of the virus in order to protect individuals during the upcoming year. According to the CDC, this year could produce a nasty season. They are strongly encouraging people to go in for their vaccination if they haven't done so already.

This year, 112 million Americans have already gone in for their shots; this equates to only 37 percent of the vaccine-eligible U.S. public, according to the CDC.

You've Got It: Now What?

You're an unlucky soul whose seatmate at work was sniffling away and now you've caught his illness. So, what to do if you get the flu? Well, it's important to note, the malady is caused by a virus, so a course of antibiotics are ineffective. If a secondary bacterial infection becomes an issue, then a round of antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor.

In general, those suffering from the virus will want to get as much rest as possible; as well, they'll need to drink plenty of liquids and *try* to eat regular meals if at all possible. A benefit (?) of being sick is that you should stay home from work and/or school until the symptoms have subsided: there's always a silver lining.

Here are a few ways in which to maximize self-care:

  • Place a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead or take a cool bath; this will help to bring your fever down
  • Try Tylenol or Motrin in order to bring down fever and lessen pain
  • Chicken soup, more chicken soup, and another helping of chicken soup
  • To soothe a sore throat, gargle some warm salt water
  • Be sure to avoid alcohol and DO NOT smoke during the period of illness

Over-the-counter medications may help to lesson some of your symptoms. These drugs will fall into three categories: pain relievers, cough suppressants, and decongestants. For more information on these drugs, head over to the Yahoo Health website.

There, you can also learn more about antiviral medications which can be prescribed to stop the growth of the virus and make it less contagious to others. By taking antiviral drugs immediately after noticing the symptoms, you may lessen the negative effects by one to two days.


WebMD: CDC: Flu Season Hits Early and Could Be a Bad Year. Flu Overview.

Above photo attributed to LifeSupercharger

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