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Each year, the flu—also known as the influenza virus—has the potential to infect us and the people around us. Keep reading to learn more about this virus and how to treat symptoms.
What Is the Flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.1 The flu can infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.1 Since the flu is contagious, it’s important to prepare and protect yourself when flu season comes around. One of the most effective means of flu prevention is the flu vaccine, which can give your body the antibodies it needs to protect itself from the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone who is six months or older get the seasonal flu vaccine each year.1
What Are the Symptoms of the Flu?
A number of symptoms can indicate the flu, and the severity of these symptoms varies from person to person. These symptoms can show up early and last until the virus runs its course. Here are some common signs of the flu:
- High fever (over 100.4 F or 38 C) or feeling feverish/chills
- Body aches
- Chills and sweats
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat2
Often, cold and flu share similar symptoms, and it can be easy to get the two respiratory infections confused. Explore the differences between cold vs. flu to learn how to identify symptoms.
Fighting Early Flu Symptoms: What You Need to Know
Fighting early flu symptoms is your first step on the road to recovery. Although it can be tempting to try to ignore the symptoms and continue your life as usual, taking time to relax and recuperate will help you in the long run. In addition, by resting up at home, you can help protect others, too. The flu is most contagious three to four days after the illness begins, but individuals still may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop.3 Treating flu symptoms will provide the relief you need. By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of others too—it’s a win-win.
How to Treat Early Flu Symptoms
While most people who have the flu have mild illness and don’t need to see a doctor, it’s important to start treating the symptoms as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to start fighting early flu symptoms:
- Get your rest.
When you have the flu, you might notice yourself feeling more tired than usual. Fatigue is a common symptom of the flu. Instead of trying to fight the feeling, allow yourself to relax and rest. Sleep helps your body produce cytokines, a type of protein that plays an import role in your body’s immune response.4 So aim to get around seven to eight hours of sleep a night, and you can help support your body’s immune system.
- Eat a healthy diet.
Focus on eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet as much as possible. Look to lean meats or nut butters for protein and leafy greens like spinach for antioxidants. If you still have a sweet tooth, try a tasty smoothie packed with vitamin-C rich fruits and other essential vitamins and nutrients.
- Wash your hands.
To avoid spreading the flu to others, be sure to wash your hands often. Washing your hands won’t 100 percent prevent you from spreading the flu to others, but it might help reduce the risk. The CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.5 Not sure how long to wash your hands for? Try humming “Happy Birthday” as you wash your hands, and when you finish the song twice, approximately 40 seconds later, you can dry your hands.
- Stay hydrated.
Congestion is one symptom of the seasonal flu. To help alleviate congestion, keep a bottle of water by your bedside to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids might help loosen mucus so that you can breathe easier. As far as drink options go, stick to simple options. If water is too boring for you, slice up some lemon and add it to your glass for extra flavor. Another good option is tea with honey, which might feel nice on your throat.
- Try Over-the-Counter Medicine.
If your flu symptoms are still bothersome, you can try an over-the-counter medicine like Theraflu ExpressMax Severe Cold & Flu Syrup for relief. Theraflu ExpressMax combines great flavor with powerful ingredients to help deliver flu symptom relief. Alleviate nasal, sinus, and chest congestion, cough, body aches, headache, sore throat pain, and fever with Theraflu.
We hope that you’ve found this information on fighting flu symptoms helpful. Start early, and you’ll be on your way to recovery in no time.
1. Key Facts about Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm
2. Influenza (flu) - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719
3. How Flu Spreads. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm
4. Boost Your Health with Better Sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity
5. CDC Says Take 3 Actions To Fight The Flu. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/preventing.htm