Flu Prevention and Treatment
The flu, or influenza, is an extremely contagious respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. Each fall and winter is considered flu season, and different strains of the flu can impact people in various areas across the United States. For most people, the flu brings about a mild to moderate illness that lasts one to two weeks. However, some individuals are at greater risk of experiencing complications from the flu, such as older adults, young babies and children, and those with already compromised immune systems. Common flu symptoms include a fever and/or feverish chills, cough, sore throat, headaches, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. Not everyone who gets the flu will have all of these symptoms, but when several of these symptoms set in abruptly and severely, the flu is commonly the cause.
Educating yourself about the symptoms of the flu is the best way to know if and when you do get it, but it’s also important to understand how the flu spreads and how you can prevent it in the first place. If you happen to get the flu, you will need to explore flu treatment options so you can stop feeling sick as soon as possible and return to your normal life. At NCHS, we offer flu treatment options all year round for those with mild to severe cases of the flu, and we can even help you determine if you do, in fact, have the flu or just a common cold. Call NCHS today to make an appointment for flu prevention or flu treatment to keep you happy and healthy all year round.
How Do You Get the Flu?
The flu is extremely contagious. It is completely viral, so once you have it, you become a carrier who can then pass it on to others. The flu can be passed from one person to another through direct contact, such as kissing, hugging, holding hands, and so on. It can also be transferred through objects, such as when one person touches a doorknob that was recently touched by someone with the flu. Additionally, the flu can spread through the air, such as when a sick person coughs or sneezes and their germs travel through to air to infect another individual. It is important to note that not only can flu germs live on a dormant surface for several hours, but people can be contagious before they even start showing symptoms of the flu. This makes prevention even more important as you may not know that you or someone around you has the flu, but being extra cautious will help you avoid transferring and contracting the flu virus.
How Can You Prevent the Flu?
The best way to avoid flu treatment is to simply prevent the flu in the first place. While not everyone will be successful in preventing the flu, the more you do to protect yourself, the less likely you are to get it. One way to try to prevent it is by getting the flu shot. Although it is not 100% effective and can have risks associated with it, it can help reduce your chances of getting sick. In healthy adults, flu shot effectiveness is at about 60%. Depending on your age and overall health, the vaccine has different levels of effectiveness, but it has been shown to at least reduce the severity of the flu if it doesn’t completely prevent it.
Other than getting vaccinated, you can take many other measures to prevent the flu. Generally, the healthier you are, the less likely you are to get the flu. This means that you should eat a healthy diet full of plenty of fruits and vegetables, take your vitamins daily, and drink plenty of water. You should also minimize consumption of processed foods and sugars, particularly when you’re starting to feel a little sick as refined sugars feed disease and can make you sicker faster. It’s also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle which should include exercising regularly. This helps keep your immune system up and makes your body stronger when it comes to fighting off sickness. Getting enough sleep and keeping your stress levels under control are also hugely important when it comes to flu prevention and your overall health. A lack of sleep and extreme stress levels can quickly wreak havoc on your immune system and your health, and many people struggle to recover from sickness quickly when they are exhausted and stressed.
Some people utilize some at-home prevention tips to minimize the risk of getting the flu, such as taking antioxidant supplements, drinking immune-boosting teas, and the like. You can also visit a chiropractor at NCHS to ensure your central nervous system is functioning well so that your immune system can work optimally.
In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are a number of other prevention tips you should utilize to stay healthy this flu season. Washing your hands regularly is a big part of preventing the flu as it gets rid of any germs that you’ve picked up from others or that have come from your own body. Minimize contact with sick individuals, if possible. This can be challenging if you’re caring for a sick family member or if you work in certain fields that require close contact with others, but do your best to keep your distance from people who are sick. If you can’t avoid interacting with sick individuals, or even if you can, you should also minimize how much you touch your face, particularly your eyes, mouth, and nose. If you do have germs on your hand, they can be washed away before you breathe them in if you keep your hands away from your face. Whether you have the flu or not, always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue or napkin rather than your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, it’s better to sneeze into your elbow or shoulder than your hands as well. Finally, follow attendance policies regarding sickness at your workplace and your children’s schools. While this won’t prevent you from getting the flu, it will minimize the spreading of it if you or your children have the flu.
What Are the Best Treatment Options for the Flu?
If you think you have the flu, it’s best to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Even though the flu is viral and cannot be eradicated with antibiotics, getting ahead of the sickness will help minimize its length and severity. Schedule an appointment for flu treatment as soon as you suspect you have the flu, and begin taking care of yourself by eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest. At your doctor’s appointment, you may be given an antiviral medication. This can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and may even shorten the time you are experiencing flu symptoms. Antivirals may also be prescribed if someone you’ve come in close contact with has the flu or if there is a severe outbreak in your area.
If you are at a high risk of developing complications from the flu, it is especially important that you get flu treatment quickly. Even if you’re not considered “at risk,” you could still develop bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and other secondary issues that could prolong your sickness. The best thing to do is be proactive as soon as you start feeling a little sick. This means drinking more water, eating more foods with antioxidants, doubling up on important vitamins or minerals, and minimizing stress levels while maximizing sleep time.
If you want to learn more about the flu, preventing the flu, treatment of the flu, or anything related, get in touch with NCHS today. We offer same-day appointments at most of our locations, and we can provide a number of health care services for you and your whole family, from sickness care to wellness care and everything in between. We are proud to be a leader in affordable health care in the North County area and look forward to serving you and your family.