Right about now, if you don’t have the flu you probably know someone that does. People in your office are dropping like flies and you hear coughing and sneezing everywhere you go. Its an epidemic but you can be a flu fighting superhero this season. Save yourself and your loved ones from the diabolical clutches of the dastardly Influenza.
Good flu fighting starts with prevention to protect your immune system from falling prey to Flu’s underhanded trickery. However, if Flu outsmarts you, you can take him down with a good fight.
Preventing the Flu
Flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours. When you go out in public think of how many things people touch. Now consider the possibility that several people may have coughed or sneezed into their hands before touching it or sneezed directly on it. Then, you touch that surface and the spread continues.
Be a hygiene Superhero – The most important thing you can do it WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash them after using the bathroom, before eating and after touching “public” things such as hand rails, door knobs, etc. Don’t touch your eye, nose or mouth unless your hands are clean. Keep the hand sanitizer handy and use it.
Stop sharing – no sharing food and drink, pens, phones and anything that can carry contaminates from someone that is sick. Obviously this needs to be within reason. People can be contagious 24 hours before they even know they are sick.
Eat the Superfoods – Eat healthy, antioxidant and vitamin C rich foods, take your vitamins and get regular sleep and exercise.
Stay hydrated at all times.
Treating the Symptoms
Thyme and Lemon Tea. Steep sprigs of fresh thyme and the rind of one lemon in boiling water for several minutes. Drink several times a day to act as a throat soother, lung decongestant and general flu reliever. If you want is sweetened, use honey which has antibiotic properties.
Salt Water Gargle – Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of the hottest water you can comfortably hold in your mouth. Gargle and spit repeatedly then rinse you mouth with fresh water. The salt will ease your sore throat and chest.
Make a Vapor Tent – Boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil and lean over it with a towel draped over you to trap the aromatic, humidified air. In addition to soothing your airway and sinuses it is also quite relaxing.
Warm Compresses – Applying moist heat to your chest, throat, forehead and eyes will help ease pressure and and make you feel nice and warm.
Over the Counter Medicines
Cough Suppressants and Expectorants – Sometimes the medicines that make us feel better also prolong your illness. If you have a cough, your first priority is to make it stop and the medicine of choice for this is a cough suppressant. However, a cough is your body’s way of telling you there is something bad inside you that it wants to get out. The gross yellow/green mucus that you cough up contains antibodies that have attached to the germs in your respiratory tract that are making you feel so sick. You want to get rid of these gunk quick so choose an expectorant that will loosen up the mucus.
Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen – both of these pills are fever reducers and both work well. If you have headache with fever or you have an upset stomach then acetaminophen is the better choice. For fever with body aches then Ibuprofen will work best.
Decongestants and Antihistamines – That annoying running nose is like a faucet and you can hardly blow your nose anymore because your so stuffed up. Those problems can be alleviated by decongestants which open up inflamed nasal passages so you can breath and antihistamines that reduce the amount of secretion. Be sure to drink extra fluids when taking antihistamines.
When to See a Doctor
In some cases the flu can be quite serious. Sometimes even superheroes like you need help. Seek medical attention if you have these symptoms:
- You have a compromised immune system due to a pre-existing condition.
- You have a fever for longer than 3 days
- You are vomiting excessively and cannot hold down fluids
- You are wheezing of having difficulty breathing
- You are getting worse rather than better each day
- If an infant of child has flu symptoms, always seek medical attention
Let these tips be your first lines of defense in fighting the flu. If you tackle it with the strength of a superhero, then Influenza can never defeat you.