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Anyone who has ever suffered from the flu knows how incredibly unpleasant this illness can be. Stomach bugs and head colds can be miserable, but actually testing positive for a strain of the yearly influenza virus can leave a person in bed for many days before feeling better. Body aches, chills, fever, headache, stuffy nose, diarrhea and vomiting are just some of the unpleasant symptoms associated with the flu. Any of which can land a person in the hospital until they are fully recovered and able to head back home. Luckily, there are ways that you can prevent the flu as well as reduce your risk of hospitalization if you do happen to come down with the illness.
Get The Flu Shot
Each year a vaccination becomes available that is designed to protect against that year’s strain of influenza. While not always one hundred percent effective, the flu shot can prevent the flu in many cases but it can also decrease the severity of the flu if you still contract it. This can make a difference when it comes to recovery and whether or not hospitalization would be needed. Many doctor’s offices and pharmacies offer free flu shots to qualifying people each year.
One of the biggest reasons a person will have to be hospitalized for the flu is because they are dehydrated. Dehydration becomes an issue a lot of times because of vomiting, diarrhea or both. When a person is unable to keep fluids down for any length of time, dehydration sets in and loss of electrolytes can be very dangerous to the body. Even small sips of plain water can help prevent hospitalization. Some doctors also recommend a sports, electrolyte beverage to replenish sodium and other key minerals to the body. Symptoms of dehydration during the flu will include increased body aches, dry mouth, dry eyes, sunken eyes, and absence of urination. If dehydration is suspected, medical attention should be sought out.
The flu is caused by a virus rather than a harmful bacteria. When bacteria is present in the body, an antibiotic can assist with helping a person feel better. While there are anti-viral drugs that can be administered to flu patients, they are not known for being very effective and usually have to be taken at the very first signs of the flu. Most people don’t seek medical attention until a few days into the illness. There are prescription and over the counter medications that can help alleviate symptoms though. Your doctor can even prescribe medication that will cut down on the amount of vomiting you incur, or diarrhea. This can help prevent dehydration and keep you out of the hospital during the duration of your illness. Over the counter pain relievers can help with headache and body aches.
Getting the flu is no joke and each year there are many people who are hospitalized because of this illness. Unfortunately, there are even people who die from complications related to the flu each year; especially the elderly, the very young and other immune suppressed individuals. There are steps that can be taken to prevent hospitalization and make the flu more tolerable. Of course, there is no substitute for medical attention if need be, but staying hydrated and protecting yourself from the flu can make all the difference. It is also important to prepare for the flu before you get it. Have your home stocked with things you would need such as beverages, soups, broths, toast and medicine.