At first it feels a cold: runny nose, dry eyes, may be a cough. But within a few days you’ll know that this is no common cold. The flu virus can be especially virulent, causing fever, chills, sore throat and fatigue. In addition, your muscles may be so sore that you feel as though you have fallen off a ten-story building.
The flu virus usually makes its rounds during the cold months, although it’s possible to get it in the summer and spring. There are three categories of flu viruses: Type A, which is the most serious, and Type B and C, which aren’t as common and usually won’t make you as a sick. When doctors talk about “the flu,” it’s the Type A influenza virus.
The easiest way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year. If you’re already sick, however, what you need is fast relief.
Here’s what doctors have recommended.
Buy a new toothbrush . The virus that causes the flu can live for days on a wet toothbrush. What this means is that every time you brush your teeth, more of the bugs get into your bloodstream, causing you to get sick all over again. Doctors advice tossing your old toothbrush a few days after you get the flu and replacing it with a new one, which you can use for the duration of the illness.
Wash your hands often . It’s not only your toothbrush that can transmit the flu virus. Touching your mouth, eyes, or nose with your hands also can put more of the germs in your system. During flu season it’s good idea to wash your hands several times a day with soap and water. This is especially important if you work in an office with other people, who may pass their flu germs to you.
Humidify the air. One reason the flu is so common in the winter months is that the cold, dry air removes moisture from protective membranes in your noise and throat, making it easier for germs to get in. Plugging in humidifier will fill the air which water droplets. These droplets will help keep your mucus membranes moist, so they’re better able to trap infection-causing germs.
Drink lots of water . A bout with the flu can also rob your body of enormous amounts of water. Drinking eight or more glasses of water a day will help keep your mucus membranes moist and help relieve dry eyes, sore throat, and other common flu symptoms.