‘The unique nature about the influenza virus is its great potential for change, for mutation’ – Margaret Chan

Influenza, or flu, is a highly contagious acute viral infection caused by virus strains A, B and C. Because the virus must go through specific stages, it may take a couple days between contacting the virus and manifestation of the symptoms. This is known as the incubation period. During the incubation period, you can transfer the virus to others without even realizing you have it. That leaves you and people around you, in a matter of days of course, feeling miserable with a stuffy or runny nose, a cough or sore throat, headache/body ache, Fever, chills and fatigue to name just a few symptoms.

Fortunately, there are many ways to beat the flu.

Ways to Manage flu: Breathe In The Good Stuff

Steaming, whether with a pot of boiled water or in a sauna can help with symptoms of congestion by thinning out the mucus secretions. Additionally, sweating during the steaming sessions will help rid your body of toxins.

Eat Nutritiously

This should be the case more often than not, but especially so when you are ill. Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as metabolism boosting foods such as yogurt, salmon/tuna, flaxseed and walnuts, will help maintain your body’s energy requirements needed to sustain you and ward off the illness.

H2O

Water is the answer to almost everything. It sustains us, and nourishes us. A recent study carried out in Britain investigated the relationship between water and warding off illness.

“The first line of defense is the mucus membrane in the nose,” said Dr. David Lewis, the principal investigator of the research. “This acts like a sticky fly paper to trap things like dust, dirt and bacteria and prevent them getting to the lungs. “If you are dehydrated the mucus membrane will dry out and when this happens it is half as effective in stopping the potentially harmful particles entering the system.”

Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day is a must, especially if you are suffering from the flu.

Some Tea, Please!

But hold the caffeine, as it acts as a diuretic and may actually dehydrate you. Rather, sip on herbal teas such as lemongrass-ginger tea or lemon-honey tea. It will provide the soothing effect that your achy throat is crying out for.

R&R

Health comes before wealth, so don’t hesitate to call in sick and take a time out from life. Your body needs to heal before you can revert to your daily routines.

“While you’re battling one infection, your immune system is busy and you’re susceptible to other contagions. It’s hard to fight a two-front war,” says Daniel Neides, medical director of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “The point is to not overtax the system so you can focus your strength to fight the good fight.”

Anti-Histamines

If you have a runny or stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, itchy, watering eyes, then take an anti-histamine. It will help with symptoms of sinus congestion and leave you feeling a little bit better.

Painkillers

This includes acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen to name a few of the most commonly prescribed painkillers. These will help relieve the achy sensation in your body. Just make sure you consult a doctor before using these if you have liver or heart disease.

Disinfect

Disinfect your hands using antibacterial agents before and after coming into contact with other people, and shared surfaces such as door handles, car handles, and table counters. Disinfect kitchen counter tops, bathroom counter tops, door handles and any other shared spaces.

This is key in helping to prevent the spread of viral particles.

Sharing Isn’t Always Caring

Momma didn’t raise no fool, so follow what you were taught as a school kid and be wary about sharing eating utensils, pens, or even make up with other people. Bacteria and viruses are unseen components of our environment and can easily be transferred through shared items.

Honey, Where Are You?

People have been eating honey since the ancient times, but science is just now finding scientific evidence to support the consumption of honey.

A recent study conducted by Watanabe et al., has investigated the anti-viral use of honey. The researchers found that honey, especially manuka honey, has potent inhibitory effects on the replication of viral particles.

In addition, according to the National Honey Board, honey contains antioxidants, carbohydrates, sugars, acids, proteins and minerals.

So go on, eat honey (just not too much). It’s good for you!

Though once a very severe ailment, influenza can now be controlled and contained so as not to disrupt our lives too much.