Flu season is in full force and it’s hitting earlier and harder than in years past. You probably know the symptoms of flu already (cough, fever, soreness, fatigue, headaches, congestion), so today we’re focusing on a handful of questions you may not know the answers to with some help from Dr. Priya Gambhir, a Family Practice physician with Sherman Physician Group.
1. How long is someone with the flu contagious?
Most of us with the flu can start infecting those around us one day before symptoms even develop. This period of contagiousness can last up to a week after becoming sick. Kids and adults with weaker immune systems have a period of contagiousness that lasts even longer. [source]
2. When should you call your doctor?
Because of how contagious the flu can be, it’s best to call your doctor sooner rather than later. There may very well be some medications that will help you fight the illness more effectively.
If you’ve waited the sickness out for a few days and it hasn’t gotten better, you need to see the doctor immediately. There may be a tag team of flu and another infection that’s beating you up. More extreme symptoms that would indicate a secondary infection include prolonged fever, difficulty breathing, or consistent vomiting. [source]
If you don’t have a doctor, Sherman Health has one that’s right for you. Find a Physician here.
3. Is there anything I can do at home to get rid of the flu?
Probably not, but there are ways you can ease specific symptoms temporarily. Use steam to clear up your airways, eat hot soup or food with spices like garlic, ginger, and horseradish to lessen a sore throat, or increase fluid intake and rest periods to help the healing process.
4. Can diet and exercise prevent the flu?
Well…sort of. No one thing can prevent the flu, but the key to properly fighting the symptoms is having a healthy immune system, which you get by exercising and eating right. Sleeping well and staying relatively stress-free won’t hurt, either.
When you actually have the flu, however, follow the steps above to recover properly. Taking a few days off from the gym to recuperate will help you in the long run. [source]
5. How does the flu spread?
Most commonly, it’s spread by coughing, sneezing, and talking. It’s possible to come down with the flu at any time of year, so always wash your hands, use the cough pocket, and encourage your kids to do the same.
Want more flu prevention tips? Click here for six of them.