With November’s arrival, it’s official: We’re now in the heart of the cold and flu season. About 10-50 million Americans get the flu each year, and with the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stay healthy and strong.
At Prima Medicine, our providers want to help you stay healthy and flu-free. But we also understand that no matter how many preventive measures you take, you can still sometimes come down with the flu.
Our practice, with locations in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, offers comprehensive internal medicine services and urgent care. So we can give you a flu shot to help keep you from getting the flu, and if you do get the flu, we can give you treatment. Fortunately, there are things you can do at home to get over the flu faster.
One of the most important steps you can take when you have the flu is to get plenty of rest. Take a moment to learn more about the flu and why rest is key when you’re sick.
All about the flu
Most of us refer to influenza as “the flu.” However, this respiratory illness isn’t one virus. “The flu” is an umbrella term for different strains and types of influenza viruses. You can get the flu during any season of the year. But since the number of flu cases increases in the fall and winter months, this time of the year is usually called the “flu season.”
The flu can affect both your upper and lower respiratory tracts and is extremely contagious. The good news is that most people recover from the flu without serious complications.
Very young children, people over age 65, and those who have compromised immune systems or preexisting respiratory conditions, however, do have a higher risk of developing complications.
People who get the flu don’t always have the same symptoms. While symptoms can vary, they usually include fever, body aches and fatigue, and cold-like symptoms, such as:
- Sore throat
- Congestion and/or cough
Since the flu is caused by viral strains, not bacteria, antibiotics can’t help. Sometimes an antiviral medication can alleviate your symptoms and shorten the flu’s duration, but it depends on the type of flu you contract. Your provider at Prima Medicine can run a test to make this diagnosis.
The flu vs. COVID-19
Although COVID-19 and the flu share several symptoms, they’re not the same illness. Influenza is caused by various types and strains of influenza viruses. COVID-19, on the other hand, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Since they’re both viral, antibiotics can’t treat COVID-19 or the flu. The treatment for both involves addressing the symptoms, so your body can better fight off the virus. One of the best steps you can take for both illnesses is to get plenty of rest.
Rest is key to recovering from the flu
If you get the flu, be sure to stay hydrated. You can also take medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help reduce the severity of your symptoms, such as fever and body aches.
Hydration and symptom management aren’t enough, however. The key to recovering from the flu as fast as possible is to get plenty of rest. By resting during the day, your body will be able to devote more resources to fighting the virus.
Sleep is also important. Sleep gives your body the opportunity to focus on strengthening your immune system. Research tells us that your body uses the time you sleep to develop key proteins in your brain. These specialized proteins are designed to boost your immune system so you’re better equipped to fight off infections.
Help for flu patients
If you want a flu vaccine, your provider at Prima Medicine can provide you with a flu vaccine to help keep you healthy. If you currently have symptoms of the flu, schedule an appointment.
Our team can get you the treatment you need to alleviate your symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. We offer same-day appointments at our urgent care clinics in Fairfax and South Riding.
To learn more about the flu and how you can treat it, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.