Every year up to 20% of the population gets the flu. The virus puts millions of Americans at risk in the fall and winter, incapacitating them from their families, work, and general livelihood. This is why it is so important that people receive their annual flu shot and knowing the signs so that you can steer clear of it.
Here’s everything you need to know to keep you and your loved ones safe from the flu epidemic this year:
Often replicating the symptoms of a brief bout of allergies or the common cold, the flu is actually very different from these. The first thing to know is that the flu appears suddenly and the symptoms usually appear out of nowhere.
You may have the flu if you experience the sudden onset of any of the following symptoms:
Body Aches: One of the most common flu symptoms, body aches can affect any part of your body and can sometimes feel like it aches throughout from your head to your toes.
Fatigue: If you’re feeling a but tired, then you probably have the common cold. But if you’re feeling completely drained and exhausted, chances are that you have the flu. It can take so much out of you that you may have a hard time just getting out of the bed.
Sore Throat: Chances of getting the flu without a sore throat are slim to none. What does vary is the severity of your sore throat; while it may only feel a little itchy initially, don’t be surprised if it becomes swollen and feel dry after a while.
Bad Cough: Right on cue, along with your sore throat you’re sure to start having a bad cough. This usually means that you’ll feel like you’re hacking up a lung and will cough throughout the night.
Fever: The number one way to tell the difference between the flu and the common cold is a fever. If you have the flu, you’ll most likely develop a fever as you body tries to naturally fight off the virus.
Gastrointestinal Issues: Though this is not common, some strains of the flu do bring with it an onslaught of gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
You can treat your flu at home with over-the-counter medication. As a matter of fact, do not leave the house as the flu spreads extremely quickly. Don’t take for granted the power of quality rest and nutritional foods to keep up your energy.
If you’re experiencing a severe case of the flu or if your symptoms do not let up after a few days, visit your doctor who will run test, cross off any other diseases, and prescribe you the right dose of medication.
Remedies and medications that help treat the flu include pain relievers to reduce body aches and bring down fevers, decongestants to reduce the swelling in your nose and throat, cough syrup to calm down your throat and provide some relief, and zinc to help your body recover. Echinacea is an age-old herb you can find at your local pharmacy in capsule form; this will dramatically reduce your symptoms.
With the flu having the ability to really put you out of service for a while, you’ll want to start treatment as soon as symptoms present themselves. Better yet, why don’t you avoid it altogether and get a flu shot at your doctor’s office or at the local pharmacy. Funnily enough, it’s common to feel flu-like after receiving the vaccine, but rest assured knowing that it’s nowhere near as bad as the real deal.