Because it is a disease that can infect anyone at any time, flu is often taken for granted as a common illness that requires just a little bed rest for a cure. Yet with the outbreak of the swine flu (AN1H1) a couple of years ago, people have become more aware of the severity of this infectious disease. Hence many are now undergoing vaccinations and immunizations as precautionary measure.
But despite AN1H1, the common influenza can be treated at home with proper methods. Here are tips on how this can be done:
- Rest in bed for as long as you have the “bug”. Do not report to work nor go to school. Cancel any activities and appointments for the next several days until such time that you get well.
- Avoid doing tasks while resting at home. Stay away from the computer and television. Flu comes with terrible headaches and exposure to the glare of the screen might worsen your condition. Do not listen to people who advise you to just “shake it off” by engaging in physical or mental activities.
- Eat right. Do not indulge in your comfort foods whatever they may be. Your immune system is down so you have to boost it by feeding it with enough nutrition. Avoid coffee, carbonated drinks and wine. Fruit juices should be your staple drink aside from water. Protein rich food such as fish and poultry along with easy-to-digest vegetables like pumpkins, carrots and broccoli are among the suggested foods for people with flu. Have a bowl of soup now and then if you cannot tolerate solid foods.
- Quit smoking even for just the period when you are down with flu. Flu is usually accompanied by cough and cold so you can just imagine how cigarettes can affect your breathing.
- Go for liquid and soft diet if you develop gastro problems. Some flu cases come with diarrhea and vomiting. In cases as these, do away with solid foods so as not to trigger anymore stomach upset and nausea.
- Take Vitamin C and multivitamin supplements. Flu has no real cure but nutrition. Vitamin C helps in enhancing your white blood cells which are called the “soldiers of the body” because they are the ones that fight infection.
- Take pain relievers for muscle and joint pains and headaches which are common in flu. Avoid taking antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor.
- Have frequent sponge baths. Wet a small towel with tap water and rub it all over your body, paying more attention on the underarms, forehead, face and neck. This method will help reduce fever and prevent it from going up.
- Place a pack of cold compress on your forehead if your temperature goes up to as high as 100 degrees. It is important to keep your head at a cooler temperature because when fever is too high, you tend to get disoriented.
- Wear light clothing if the weather is warm. Avoid bundling yourself up with layers of clothing as it will just seal in the heat in your body and your temperature might not go down at all.
If symptoms show some complications such as disorientation, hallucinations, constant vomiting and bloody discharges, go to the hospital immediately for confinement. Usually, flu lasts only for about three to five days. Beyond this period, you have to seek doctor’s advice. Self medication at home is okay only if your vital signs remain normal and manageable.