Winter is once again here, so we can only expect that flu season is upon us. And oh the joys of flu season! Influenza, also known as the flu, is a common viral infection that can be very taxing on the body.
Although not very common, the flu can be deadly — especially for elders and children. As we come upon this yucky time, here are five important things you should remember about the flu.
It will be said over and over again - the best way to prevent the flu is getting the flu vaccine every year. Each year, the flu vaccine is different; the flu vaccine given each year is determined by which strain research expects to hit that year. Although it is not guaranteed to be the right strain or to completely prevent you from getting the flu, getting the vaccine is the best bet to lowering your chances of getting it.
On the plus side, you can usually get it cheap or free somewhere near you in your community.
Influenza is a respiratory illness affecting your nose, throat, and lungs. Some common symptoms include fever, coughing, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, and/or a runny/stuffy nose. People with influenza may have some or all of these symptoms or even none at all.
*It's important to note that you can spread influenza even before you start to show symptoms!
3. Wash your hands!!!
Influenza is highly contagious. Even if you don't know you have it, you can still spread it. Its most common forms of transmission are droplets from coughs, sneezes, and talking. Although less common, the flu can also be contracted by touching an infected surface. It's important to wash your hands to prevent spreading the infection to and from your nose, mouth, and airway. Do your best to keep you and others around you safe.
4. Fluid intake
Fluid intake, especially increased water intake, is really important for a speedy recovery. Flu symptoms, such as sweating and a runny nose, increases the amount of water your body loses. Couple that with lack of appetite, thus decreasing your fluid intake through foods, your body is at high risk for dehydration. When dehydrated, your body has trouble fighting the main issue - the flu. It's important to increase your fluid intake while trying to fight off the virus.
5. Rest up
Your body needs rest. Your body needs all of the strength it can acquire in order to fight off the flu. Putting extra pressure on your body to perform other tasks can result in a slower recovery time. So take it easy.
Although flu season is inevitable, there are some steps you can take in decreasing your risks for contracting it. In addition, if you do end up with the flu, there are steps that you can take in order to decrease your risk of spreading it. Remember these five tips while fighting off flu season - and don't forget, your doctor is only a call away to answer any questions you may have.