The arrival of theH1N1 flu virus has renewed interest in treating the flu in all its forms. Questions about managing its symptoms are also popular. Whatever kind of flu you have, no treatment will provide an immediate cure, but there are a number of strategies that one can use to combat common flu symptoms like fatigue, aches and pains, coughing and congestion, and possibly its most serious symptom–fever.
Researches acknowledge that even over-the-counter medications can shorten the duration that you suffer the symptoms of the flu. In any case, you should refrain from giving children under four any kind of medication for the flu without first contacting your doctor and asking for specific advice.
Are there any special treatments that one can take for the H1N1 virus?
There aren’t any treatments that are specifically designed to target the symptoms of swine flu or H1N1. If you feel that you are suffering from this particular form of the flu you should get in touch with your doctor immediately or seek medical attention and in emergency care facility. Many doctors prescribe antiviral medications in this situation — brand names include Tamiflu our Relenza. These medications prevent viruses from reproducing. They can also shorten the duration of diseases such as the swine flu, but work best when used within a couple of days of your becoming symptomatic.
Can I be vaccinated against H1N1?
Yes, a vaccine now exists that has been proven to act effectively against the swine flu virus. This vaccine is ineffective against other forms of the flu. Once again, a doctor may need to advise you as to whether or not to receive a vaccination of any kind.
Aside from antiviral drugs, what treatments work best against the flu?
Treatments for the flu are best described as very symptom dependent. That’s because the flu can manifest symptoms in a wide variety of ways. If the flu has caused you stomach upset a nasal decongestant will be of little use. Here’s a quick rundown of what works best against a particular set of symptoms:
If you’re stuffed up, some sort of decongestant will be in order. You need to have your mucous membranes in the nose and throat possibly opened up by a pill a capsule or some sort of syrup.
Antihistamines may prove effective for nasal specific congestion. They also relieve itching, sneezing and a runny nose. You should limit your use of decongestants to a few days. Because they serve to mask symptoms when you stop using them symptoms may return all the stronger. Side effects of antihistamines and decongestants can cause drowsiness or even hyper-activity.
Nasal sprays can work fast but they can become habit forming after only a short time of usage.
A somewhat more natural treatment for nasal congestion might be a saline spray instead of one that is medicated. Many decongestants are not suitable for people who are suffering from hypertension or other circulatory diseases.
The traditional flu and cold remedies like drinking plenty of fluids, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, gargling with salt, drinking a small glass of ginger ale for nausea and getting plenty of rest can all prove to be effective treatments for flu symptoms.
If you experience prolonged periods of difficulty breathing or temperature over 101°F for more than a day you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even in the modern world of multitasking it isn’t very often that we get to do two things at once effectively. Since the way we get colds and flu is so similar we can fight them off two a time using the following techniques:
Of course we should never take viral infections lightly and the flu can be just plain dangerous. Some preventive medicine needs to keep us on our toes and a little bit of humor doesn’t hurt anyone’s overall health either.
Snooze Your Way to Success
Being deprived of the amount of sleep that you need can lead to just about any disease that you can name. The number of antibodies and other cells in your body that are designed to ward off disease replenish while you’re sleeping. On average an adult need six to eight hours of sleep. Babies may need as many as 18 hours of sleep. Toddlers need about 12 hours of sleep. And although they may object, preschoolers still may need a good 10 hours of sleep per day. Scientists have yet to explain why your children may not want to take a nap. If you can’t get them to nap put then to bed a little earlier.
You Gotta Move
You gotta move, not only when your favorite dance tune is on or when someone gives you a swat and you feel like retaliating. To stay healthy you need to exercise. Hike, walk, bike, yoga or dance, but don’t just sit there if you want to stay healthy.
This Disease Gives Me Just What I Need … An Excuse to Drink
By drinking we mean staying hydrated and staying away from too much alcohol and too much caffeine. That’ll only make things worse. Cold and flu symptoms can be improved or vanquished by drinking eight to 10 cups of water a day of the 8 ounce variety. Your immune system will thank you as it goes to work on your behalf.
Have another Hit of Fresh Air
It’s a fact of modern life that our indoor atmosphere sometimes ends up being much more unhealthy for us than the one outside, especially in winter. Chase potential toxins outdoors by opening a window once in awhile.
Don’t Get Stuffy
Of course you don’t want to get stuffy or a cold or the flu. You’ll get fewer colds and less flu if you keep your house a little bit cooler. Hot dry air is just what the viruses have ordered. A cooler, moister indoors is just what the doctor’s ordered.
It’s the Germs Dude!
Our battle is against an unseen enemy. We can fight this enemy by washing our hands many times a day. Meal-time and bathroom time are especially important times for washing one’s hands…fore and aft, top and bottom. If Kitty or Fido licks your hand they won’t be offended if you wash your hands shortly thereafter.
Mobile weaponry can include nontoxic wipes and hand sanitizers.
Practice strategic sneezing. By that we mean sneeze into your arm or a tissue if one is handy. Stifling a sneeze with your hands plays in the “hands” of the enemy.
The flu is a disease with no known cure – except time. You can remedy some of the worst effects of the flu with entirely natural cures, er remedies. We do know of some helpful natural remedies for the symptoms of the flu. Nonetheless, the best approach to the flu still remains trying to prevent it, once you’ve got it, however, these suggestions may help:
We mentioned time at the outset and you might want us to provide a little more detail on that. What happens over time when you have the flu is that your natural immune system marshals its forces to battle the disease. Prominent among its weapons is fever. Having a fever can help to kill off flu viruses. Of course, sometimes this remedy becomes worse than the initial disease symptoms. A moderate fever can speed the recovery.
Coughing when you have the flu is also helpful, at least to you. It may give your flu to someone else. Coughing clears your respiratory passages of mucus that might actually carrying germs into your lungs. So along with the antibodies that your body produces to fight the flu, the symptoms of the flu can sometimes help you get rid of it more quickly.
Benign neglect is one those phrases that we can translate into more understandable advice such as: leave it well enough alone. It often applies to nasal congestion. Over the counter decongestants tend to restrict the flow of blood to your nose and throat. This can be very counterproductive as blood can help in the healing process by warming the infected area and carry any germs out of your body. Sometimes the best treatment for nasal congestion is benign neglect.
If you would like to try to do something to treat your nasal congestion, drink extra water. Keeping hydrated is important for anyone with a cold or flu. And it’s very inexpensive. That extra hydration can make your mucus less viscous and easier to get rid of. The sinus cavities also drain better when you are hydrated better.
Saltwater can help somewhere else as well. Merely dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gargling as much as four times a day can help to relieve a sore throat — at least temporarily.
A hot drink, as we’ve already mentioned, can relieve nasal congestion and have a soothing effect on the respiratory tract. If that hot beverage you are drinking is tea there are additional helpful effects. Tea contains tannins, which can help to tighten the membranes of the throat.
If you’d rather gargle with something a little cooler you can initially steep some raspberry leaves and lemon juice in hot water mix in some honey and let the concoction cool to room temperature.
What about and commercial products that claim to be more or less natural?
The market for herbal products has increased dramatically in the last 10 years or so. Products that contain supplements such as echinacea and ginseng make some fairly extravagant claims. Best to talk to your doctor about what these products can do for you. Also remember that herbal products can interfere with other medications you may be taking for other reasons.