The Other, Other F Word – FLU
That time is here again. The phone starts ringing with call outs. People are overworked, tired and cranky, trying to do other people’s jobs. You are the object of intense scrutiny if you sneeze and then are immediately judged. That’s right, it’s flu season.
This year is considered one of the worst years for flu in the last decade. The flu shot is rumored to be only covering about 10% of the viruses around,and people are getting sick at an alarming rate.
Whether you have the actual flu or one of those nice little colds (one that knocks you flat for 5 days), you are going to feel awful. Tamiflu is available to those who test positive, but when you go home, the care you need is pretty much the same. Rest, antipyretics (Tylenol/ ibuprofen) lots of fluids, and time. Unless you develop an infection, you don’t need antibiotics (so stop asking for them) because these are viruses. The old saying is you will have the flu for 7 days if you take an antibiotic and a week if you don’t.
Your best bet is to avoid it. Not so easy, unless you live by yourself and never leave the house. Dr.’s offices, buses, subways, airplanes, offices and almost anywhere “closed in” are all ripe for the passing of germs and viruses to another person.
Here are a few things you can do to try to protect yourself:
- WASH YOUR HANDS frequently, before you touch your face, after you use doorknobs, around children, and anywhere there are crowds.
- Avoid closed in spaces with large crowds such as concerts and sporting events.
- Clean flat surfaces at home and at work as frequently as possible.
- Get adequate rest and eat a healthy diet. Vitamin C and probiotics cannot hurt.
If you have one of these bugs…
- WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and before you touch anything that others may touch.
- Stay Home. Quite honestly, no one wants to see you, hear you or be around you.
- Rest. Overdoing it makes it last longer, and makes you feel worse.
- Fluids, fluids, fluids. Avoid coffee and alcohol. They are both dehydrating.
- Once it’s over, wash your bedding, get a new toothbrush and avoid others with the bug. A relapse is more possible in your weakened state.
I know you’ve heard it all before but you have a much better chance of avoiding being really ill if you get the flu shot, avoid those who have it, and, again, WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
- Järhult JD. Environmental resistance development to influenza antivirals: a case exemplifying the need for a multidisciplinary One Health approach including physicians. Acta Vet Scand. 2018 Jan 25;60(1):6. PubMed PMID: 29370857