While a drop in outside temperature means it's time to replace t-shirts for sweatshirts, it also means it's flu season. The flu virus is more prevalent during colder months than any other time of year. Flu symptoms vary from person to person yet generally include a high fever, unexplained chills, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme fatigue and sore muscles. Seek medical care if you suspect that you have the flu.
When you come down with the flu, symptoms such as a high fever and chills occur quickly. As your symptoms worsen, your body prepares to fight the invading virus by releasing anti-virus cells and proteins. As a result, your energy levels get zapped and you may experience dizziness, inflammation and headaches. Other symptoms of the flu include sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
It takes a lot of time, energy and resources for your body to fight the flu virus. In fact, the flu can last between seven and 10 days or more, depending on the severity of the illness as well as the age and general health of the infected person. Since your body is working practically non-stop to fight the virus, your muscles will feel achy and sore as a result. To help ease sore muscles while you are fighting the flu, eat more protein, such as lean meats, peanut butter, cheese and milk. Use a heating pad or soak in a warm bath to further soothe sore muscles.
In addition to adding more protein to your diet, drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest. Always cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and avoid close contact with people. Wash your hands frequently to help prevent the spread of the illness. While there is no medicine to fight the flu virus, medicine may help fight the symptoms of the flu. Common over-the-counter medications may help reduce fever and ease sore muscles, as well as help relieve a congested chest or stuffy nose. Other over-the-counter medications also help make coughing and blowing your nose more productive by thinning out mucus.
Although a flu vaccination boosts your immune system and protects you from the flu virus, it is not 100 percent effective, mainly due to the fact that flu strands are always changing and evolving. Speak to your doctor about vaccination options, as well as any antiviral medication you can take to further protect yourself against the flu. Antiviral medication may also lessen the impact of the flu should you catch it. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet as well as getting plenty of exercise and rest also boosts your immune system, which fights against invading bacteria and viruses.