How to Prevent and Beat the Flu

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  • The flu is a virus that wrecks havoc for thousands of people every winter. The best way to beat the flu is to keep yourself from getting it in the first place. Once you have it, there are simple things you can do to feel better quickly.

    Flu Prevention

    The CDC recommends getting a yearly flu vaccine to guard yourself against the virus. There are many different types of flu viruses, but the vaccine will protect you against the most common varieties. Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water, or keep an alcohol-based sanitizer handy. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, and try to avoid contact with people who are sick.

    Flu Overview and Symptoms

    When you have the flu you will typically experience a cough, fever, headache, muscle aches and lack of energy. Some people also experience nausea, vomiting, sore throats or diarrhea. While at the onset of a sore throat and cough you may be anticipating a common cold, if you progress to body aches, fevers, or headaches you are probably dealing with the flu instead. People usually experience symptoms for one to two weeks and recover without any issues.

    Flu Treatment and Getting Better

    If you do develop the flu, there are a few things you can do to feel better. Increase liquids, take warm showers and use warm compresses to reduce nasal congestion and body aches. Humidifiers may help you sleep better, and acetaminophen or ibuprofen can treat the fever. Many people swear by Echinacea, Airborne and Vitamin C at the first sign of any symptoms. In addition, cough drops and over-the-counter cough syrup can help suppress your cough. If symptoms progress, such as a difficulty in breathing, dizziness, severe vomiting or symptoms that improve and get worse again, you should check in with your doctor.

    Ideally, with some care, caution and preparation, you can avoid getting the flu entirely. If you do catch the virus, know what to expect and lay low until you feel better. Treat the symptoms and seek medical attention if the illness progresses.

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