The flu season is back in full swing again. It bears repeating: to lessen your chances of contracting the flu, WASH YOUR HANDS!
Last year, I took a two-hour webinar on the flu virus, how to prevent it and what to do if you still get it – all that good information. You can read the post titled “Understanding Influenza” for full in-depth information about it.
For today, I’m going to give you a basic primer on the flu, how to prevent it and what to do if you are diagnosed with it.
The flu season in North Carolina will run from approximately October through May. Interesting little factoid: the flu begins in Australia and works its way over to the United States.
What Is The Flu?
The flu is a virus that can only reproduce inside a targeted cell – which is you. Antibiotics won’t do any good whatsoever to help you with the flu as they’re for bacterial infections, not viral infections.
It can take as little as a few hours for the symptoms to show up once you’ve been exposed. I always thought the flu included an upset stomach (and all the loveliness that goes along with it) but it’s actually a respiratory issue.
The actual influenza virus spreads by killing cells in your respiratory tract, triggering a cough reflex which then propels the virus in the air to infect those around you.
Here’s the information about the 2018-2019 flu virus from the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta:
There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2018-2019, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:
- the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus
Here’s a quick rundown of flu symptoms. You may get all of them or a few of them.
- Moderate to severe cough
- Fever, possibly high lasting for 3 – 4 days
- Moderate to intense muscle aches and pains
- Headache, sometimes intense
- Sore throat and stuffy nose are common
- Generally lasts 12 – 14 days or longer
If you sneeze and have watery eyes, you most likely have a cold – it’s rare to have these symptoms with the flu.
Preventing The Flu
So what does that have to do with washing your hands?
As it turns out, a whole lot.
You know that doorknob you just touched? Someone else touched it with their hands and left germs. And those germs can last for hours on hard surfaces and for days on soft surfaces such as towels and handkerchiefs.
So the best ways to prevent the flu are:
- Wash your hands with plain soap and warm water often, especially after using the toilet or coughing and sneezing.
- Drink more water than usual – this will keep your system flushed out.
- Get a flu shot – it’s a proven fact that getting a flu shot does NOT cause the flu!
- Avoid touching your face – germs spread easier in moist mucous membranes (such as your eyes and nose).
- Take Elderberry syrup at least 3 times every day during flu season. If you feel symptoms coming on, take a tablespoon every 2 hours.
I get my Elderberry syrup from a place called Norm’s Farms (NOT an affiliate link). They offer free shipping, too! To be honest, the flu vaccine is about 40% effective and the Elderberry syrup is about 80% effective against the flu. I actually take Elderberry syrup twice a day year round.
What To Do If You Get The Flu
Even though you’re careful, you caught the flu. Now what?
Go. To. Bed. Now.
Seriously, go to bed and stay there for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks. Don’t go around anyone to spread the germs – especially day care centers and nursing homes.
Get to your doctor as fast as you can for an antiviral prescription medication, if needed. The faster you get the medication in you, the faster you’ll feel better.
Drink more plain water than usual. Again – water is flushing your system and this is a good thing.
Keep a vaporizer or cold mist diffuser running to help stop the spread of germs. If you add a couple drops each of Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Lavender to your cold mist diffuser (or inhale directly from a cotton ball), you’ll breathe easier and feel better.
Sleep. Sweet glorious sleep will help your body heal.
Don’t go back to work for at least 24 hours after your fever breaks. You’ll still be contagious!
I make a wonderful blend called Thievery which contains several essential oils to boost your immune system. It’s $14.95 for a 10 mL bottle and can help you boost your immune system as well as promote bronchial and nasal health. All you have to do is fill out this contact form or send an email and I’ll take it from there.
Be well, wash your hands and share this post!
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.