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So you're finally starting to see the light at the end of the flu tunnel. Symptoms like fever, cough, stuffy nose and muscle aches are finally starting to improve, but one thing that hasn't bounced back is your energy. If you're still feeling tired as you recover from the flu, or even if the rest of your symptoms have completely disappeared, know that this is normal. Flu fatigue can last two weeks or more.i Luckily we have some tips on recovering from flu fatigue, so that you can get back on your feet more quickly.
In the past few decades doctors have begun to study the connection between the flu and fatigue experienced during and immediately after recovery. Although they aren't sure why viral illnesses seem to cause this fatigue after flu, some doctors believe it's connected to our bodies' inflammatory response to infection.ii
Luckily, there are things you can do to help when you're recovering from flu fatigue.
Get plenty of sleep at night
Sleeping for at least 7-9 hours every night will help your body continue its recovery. Rest in order to recharge.iii
Take it easy
If you're starting to feel less congested and hoarse but still have a hard time leaving your bed our best advice is not to push yourself too hard. Don't try to return to all of your usual physical activities just yet. Instead, try short walks or very light, brief exercise.iv
Continue to drink lots of fluids
You might be really tired of drinking broth and tea, but staying hydrated is important all the time,v and especially when you're on the mend.
If you're still recovering from flu fatigue after few weeks be sure to talk to your doctor about it. Doctors can test for other conditions that might be causing your fatigue and recommend treatment options.
Most people are able to manage their flu symptoms in the comfort of their own home with over-the-counter products like those from Theraflu. These folks can expect their symptoms to subside within a week, although a cough may persist longer, sometimes for several weeks. Similarly, post-flu fatigue can last a few days to a few weeks.vi You may feel tired and unable to perform your usual exercise or daily activities, or just be feeling generally down.vii If you are at high risk of flu complications and you start noticing flu symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Those at high risk of serious flu complications include:
- Young children
- Adults aged 65 and older
- People who are pregnant
- People with medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and heart diseaseviii
i. Influenza. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/influenza. Accessed 02 November 2020. Referenced text indicated in red on sourcing doc.
ii. Flu Got You Down Even After You've Recovered? US News & World Report. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-02-28/flu-got-you-down-even-after-youve-recovered. Accessed 26 June 2020.
v. The importance of staying hydrated. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-staying-hydrated. Accessed 26 June 2020.
vii. Flu Got You Down Even After You've Recovered? US News & World Report. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-02-28/flu-got-you-down-even-after-youve-recovered. Accessed 26 June 2020.
viii. Flu Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/treatment/index.html. Accessed 02 November 2020. Referenced text indicated in red on sourcing doc.