You wake up feeling a little stiff and not quite like yourself. Within an hour or two the stiff feeling has started to turn into muscle pain. A sense of lethargy settles in and will not go away. It is time to call and run not walk to the doctor. You have begun to exhibit the first signs of the flu. If you can catch it now, there are medicines that can stop it in its tracks.
Anti-viral drugs like Admantadine are able to win against the flu virus. The only problem is that people go into denial about having the disease and do not seek treatment. For an anti-viral medication to get the upper hand on the flu, you have to start medicating within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. After that, it will be ineffective as a treatment. With the medication, the symptoms will begin to vanish by the time you are taking your second dose. It is worth the effort and the cost.
Of course, the best way to treat the flu is to not catch it. Since most people cannot stay home and secluded during the 3 or 4 months that the flu virus lurks around, you need another plan. Get the vaccine. If you do not have an allergy problem, the vaccine given at the right time is generally very effective. Most flu vaccines are a cocktail of several of the varieties of flu virus that are anticipated to show up that year.
The problem with the vaccine is the timing. You have to take it before the flu begins to show up in your area. This normally means that it needs to be injected in early November at the latest. The vaccine lasts for 3 months in you system. If the flu season starts later than usual, you may have lost your immunity before the virus strikes. If the flu season starts early, you may be sick before you can take the vaccination. The flu vaccine has one other downside. It may not give protection against the strain of virus that grabs you. Overall, it is better to take the vaccine, if available, than take the risk.
Once you are infected and anti-virals are not an option, you have to fight the disease on your own. Most younger healthy adults can weather even the most virulent form of the flu and win. It will not be pleasant or fun, but it is something you can do. The only option left is to fight the symptoms. If you are in poor health, a small child, or a senior citizen, you may want to call the doctor or visit the emergency room if the symptoms become too pronounced or difficult to tolerate.
For the rest of the victims, the old remedies are still the way to go. Take your preferred form of over-the-counter pain remedies to counteract the muscle pain. Using a medication that fights multiple symptoms can be a plus and save a few dollars. If you get confused staring at the 50 choices at the drug store, pester your pharmacist for help sorting it out.
If you are really unlucky, you may get the variety that hits you with digestive issues. In this case, there are a few over-the-counters that may help, but your best bet is to call the doctor and beg. You have to watch out for dehydration. The flu comes with a major fever. This along with the other issues can get you into trouble quickly. Do not be afraid to head to the emergency room if dehydration becomes a problem.
Drink fluids. Regardless of all other symptoms, you need to drink liquid. Your doctor may recommend drinking something that is designed to replenish fluids quickly in the body. However, if you will just start forcing yourself to take in water and other forms of liquid from the start, it is usually enough.
Eat lightly. You probably will not feel like eating. This is alright. If you do choose to eat, keep it light so that your ailing digestive system can handle it. Unless you are malnourished, a day or two with little or no food will not hurt you. You will start eating again when your body is regaining its health. Eating something like chicken soup with good broth can help with nourishment and fluids.
Stay warm. The flu brings chills. If you have an electric blanket or heating pad, put it to use. Even sweating some is preferable to the chills. For other issues like diabetes, lung, or heart issues, do not treat the flu by yourself without talking to your doctor first. Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before the flu season starts for advice.