Also known as influenza, flu is a viral infection that is quite common during the winter season. The most common symptoms include a feeling of being utterly miserable; there is fever, coughs, muscle aches, fatigue, and a general feeling of illness. There may also be a sore throat, nasal discharge, headaches, and loss of appetite. The worst symptoms usually subside after a few days, but there is a lingering feeling of tiredness for a week or so. Take caution that flu is contagious. Respiratory secretions that become airborne during coughing and sneezing transmit the infection. Thus, close contact with a person with influenza who is coughing or sneezing is likely to result in infection. If one person in a household has flu, the rest of the family may contract the condition and it spreads rapidly through offices, classrooms, and work sites. Symptoms usually develop 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and the patient is contagious for three to four days after the onset of symptoms.
Basic treatment calls for these basics: maintain a well-balanced diet with plenty of fluids. Be sure to get lots of bed rest and avoid cigarette smoking. Avoid crowds since the virus spreads speedily, keep away from crowded areas and keep your distance from those you see sneezing or coughing even if it means changing your seat on the commuter bus or train or getting off the elevator on the wrong floor.
If you are looking for a relief and also want to wash out the wastes that are gathering in your throat, use a salt-water gargle. Properly mixed salt water is soothing. Gargle with a half-teaspoon of salt mixed in a quart of lukewarm water. It bathes your mouth; helps wash away some bacteria, infected material, and pus, which cause discomfort. Ass a bit of baking soda to the solution to help break up thick mucus, to oxygenate your mouth and make it less friendly to bacteria.
To ease discomfort of a cough, sore throat, dry nasal passages, or chest congestion with a humidifier or vaporizer in your room. To recover faster, it is important to keep your sickroom or living/working space with a good supply of fresh air at all times. Keep out of drafts and chills, though. Protect yourself with warm, close-fitting garments.
Last but not least, you will need lots of liquid to overcome the dehydration caused by a fever. Try think soups, fruits and vegetable juices, which are rich in nutrients. Dilute fruit juice equally with water to provide a small amount of glucose needed to give you energy. However, do be careful to avoid too much sugar as it can cause diarrhea during the illness. Allow the juices to go flat before drinking because the bubbles can create stomach gas and more nausea. When your appetite returns, try dry toast, bananas, boiled brown rice, cooked whole-grain cereal, baked potatoes, applesauce, nonfat plain yogurt to which you can add pureed fruit.
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