It’s official: we’re in flu season through March 2018. No matter where you are, you’ll probably come into contact with the flu virus. Here’s your guide to making it through.
1. Prevent it: get a flu shot
Getting a flu shot can save your life. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, do it now. Your body needs time to develop antibodies against the flu virus. After you get your flu shot, move your arm around. Doing so helps disperse the liquid flu vaccination, which helps your tissues absorb it, says Zest nurse Ryan Tiltz. Get a flu shot at a walk-in clinic, drugstore, or your PCP.
2. Identify it: learn the symptoms
How can you tell you have the flu versus a bad cold? “A cold is more respiratory, the flu affects bodily functions,” says Tiltz. “The flu is a deep virus.” If you have symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, chills, and fatigue, you may be looking at flu. If your symptoms involve congestion, headache, post-nasal drip, sore throat, and coughing, it’s likely a cold.
3. Survive it
Contact a Zest nurse
The last thing you want to do when you’re sick is leave the house (or even the couch). Contact a Zest nurse to determine the best course of action. They may refer you to a teledoctor, help you schedule an in-person appointment with your PCP, or refer you to a walk-in clinic. (If you see your PCP or teledoc, they can prescribe medication for your symptoms, or an antiviral drug, which can help prevent flu spread and shorten duration.)
While an antiviral can help treat the flu, “there’s no cure for it, unfortunately. You just have to ride it out,” Tiltz says. “But there are things you can do for the duration to make yourself more comfortable.”
Tiltz recommends rest, staying hydrated, and eating nutritious foods to help your body fight the infection. Soup is a good option, as it’s easy to digest and gives you extra hydration. You can take over-the-counter flu medicine to relieve symptoms like body ache and temporarily reduce fever.
Keep it from spreading
The flu is spread through direct or indirect contact, which makes it highly contagious. Avoid spreading the flu to friends, family, and roommates:
- Wash hands for 30-60 seconds, especially after touching your face
- Cough into your elbow to minimize flu germs on hands
- Avoid sharing towels
- Be mindful of touching community items (doorknobs, fridge handle, remote), clean with a bleach wipe
(If you live with others, it’s actually preferable for them to take care of you. “Healthy people should take care of sick people so sick people aren’t indirectly contaminating things around the house,” Tiltz explains.)
Ideally, you won’t catch the flu in the first place. But if it does happen, we can help you get better.Call 866.333.4725 or chat us in the Zest app to reach a Zest nurse.
Zest Health is not a substitute for medical advice.
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