December 19th, 2012
It happens to the best of us, even if we’ve had our flu shots. Because of the cold weather, and the rain (maybe even snow where you live), we are indoors with the windows closed. And because it’s the holiday season, we’re mingling with a lot of people. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for getting the flu.
Influenza is a type of virus. There are a number of strains, and the vaccination takes antigens against the three viral strains that are predicted to be the Big Hitters during the flu season which runs approximately October through May (when it gets cold to when it gets warm), and peaks in February. The other difficulty with the vaccine is that influenza viruses mutate quickly.
So what is the flu exactly? It’s a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by an influenza virus which enters the body usually through mucus membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth.
So, while we call it a stomach flu, it’s not the same as influenza.
Well, if you work in an office, call in sick right away. The last thing you want to do is infect the whole office even if you think you really need to get that work done.
Have someone bring you gallons of chicken broth, ginger ale, etc. Fluids are your friend. But avoid alcohol which will dehydrate you. And make sure you have a large bottle of acetaminophen for the fever and muscle aches. Also, you will want a number of boxes of facial tissue as you will probably be sneezing a lot.
Your doctor could give you antivirals medicines; however, they only work on influenza A and B. Additionally, because the virus mutates quickly, it’s not guaranteed that you will get better faster, and you could be creating resistant strains which can lead to a potential pandemic as our medicines would be ineffective.
The difference between the common cold and influenza are the severity of the symptoms. There’s a reason why we joke that we feel like a Mack truck ran over us when we have the flu. Also, it takes longer for our bodies to heal.
If you’ve had the flu, try and take it easy when you’re feeling better. Don’t try to run ten miles right away as your body is weak from the battle.