It is that time of the year when the temperature starts to fall, leaves start to change color, and we begin to hear coughing and sniffling. Although influenza(flu) does not usually land a person in the hospital, it is still uncomfortable and may put a hamper on your plans. There are multiple ways to try to prevent the oncoming flu. Additionally, there are multiple remedies that may help relieve you of the flu without needing to visit the doctor. Nevertheless, this article will speak to cases of flu that are not severe and a medical eye would still be highly recommended in the instance of a major sickness.
If you ask a person on the street how the flu is caused, they will most likely tell you that is from a virus or that it is from the cold weather. While neither of these answers are necessarily completely wrong, a better answer could be given. The National Institute of Health (NIH) found that the cold temperature does not directly cause the flu. Instead, a virus called the Rhinovirus survives better at colder temperatures. The virus is able to build an exterior coating around itself which helps it survive longer in the cold. Furthermore, research has found that nasal hairs are less effective in the cold. Therefore, germs enter your airways much easier.
It is found that people tend to start getting the flu in October and the number of flu cases peaks in February. Specifically, there are an estimated 10 million cases of the flu between October 1st and January 19th according to the CDC. Furthermore, there are approximately 5 million fly medical visits and about 125,000 flu-based hospitalizations. Financially, this account to $7 billion lost in sick days and loss of productively. Additionally, Americans total $10 billion in flu based medical visits!
Fortunately, research has found some steps that you could take to prevent feeling sick and losing money. According to Aurora healthcare, washing your hands regularly will help prevent the spread of viruses. Additionally, make sure to get an ample amount of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and add exercise into your routine. Lastly, getting a flu shot is approximately 40%-60% effective.
If you do happen to develop symptoms relating to the flu, there are different things you can do to relieve yourself of the symptoms. Getting enough sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise are still great habits to continue as it will help your immune system gain strength. Additionally, UnityPoint Health suggests eating something hot and steamy to relieve congestion and possibly sinus pressure from the steam. Additionally, drinking tea with honey and lemon will not only help you get extra vitamin c but also keep you hydrated from the properties in honey. Lastly, taking a vitamin c supplement may help with your healing. Although oranges and other nutrient fruits may have vitamin c, the sugar in them may hinder vitamin c absorption.
Lastly, try not to spend too much time indoors where you may subject yourself to viruses from others. Try to not be afraid to go outside and look at the beautiful leaves along with the calming snow to come!
“Disease Burden of Influenza | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Feb. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html.
“Do You Really Get Sick from Being Cold?” UnityPoint Health, https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=9161c3a0-54dc-46d7-a633-e1d15a5227e2.
Heyden, Stven J. “Why Do I Get Sick When the Seasons Change.” Aurora Health Care, 11 Jan. 2017, https://www.aurorahealthcare.org/patients-visitors/blog/why-do-i-get-sick-when-the-seasons-change#targetText=The change of seasons also,other allergens tend to spike.&targetText=And allergies can irritate your,sick when the seasons change.