If you have body aches, chills, headaches, sore throat, fever, feel tired for no apparent reason and you are coughing, there’s a big chance that you are at the beginning of a flu.
We all know what to do to prevent this contagious disease: wash your hands regularly; avoid direct contact with people who are infected, obviously; saliva droplets can go up to 2 meters so it’s very important that you cough and sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow, in case you don’t have tissues - just avoid doing it into your hands because you will probably touch a lot of objects and that’s a way of spreading the flu. Vaccination against the flu is also highly recommended, especially for people who are labelled as the ones with the higher chance of getting it: children, pregnant women (over three months) people older than 65 and people with chronic illnesses.
What is the flu?
The flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus and it has a period of incubation between 1 and 4 days. Its peak is between December and February, but usually starts to increase in October and can last until May.
It affects millions of people and in some cases can lead to death, this is more common among the high risk groups. According to the World Health Organization website “[…] these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths.” Pneumonia, encephalitis, myocarditis and myositis are some of the serious problems that a simple flu can cause.
Here’s how you can treat it
- First of all take some time off from work or school, you don’t want other people getting sick because of you and you need to rest;
- Our immune system gets in action and starts fighting the flu and in about a week you will be fine;
- Take some pain medication and cough syrup;
- Use a salt water spray for your nose in order to decongest it;
- Drink hot liquids but avoid coffee;
- Use an extra pillow during sleep to prop your head up.
If you don’t get better in a week or two you should go to the doctor.