Five ways to recover from flu

If you feel that you’re coming down with flu, then quick action and some simple measures could make all the difference

1. Ask about antivirals

If you are beginning to show flu symptoms, you can ask your doctor about prescription antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir (sold as Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Both work by blocking an enzyme that helps the virus infect new cells. These drugs are most effective if you take them within 48 hours of your first symptoms and can shorten your bout of flu by a day, although the risk of side-effects mean they will not always be prescribed. It is particularly important to request antivirals if you have a condition such as diabetes or heart disease that increases the risk of complications.

2. Get lots of sleep

Research has shown that getting plenty of sleep keeps the immune system healthy and is crucial to the body’s ability to keep white blood cell counts high and battle infections. It can also help prevent you from getting flu in the first place, especially if you have had a flu jab, as the body will then be able to produce more antibodies to respond to the immunisation and protect you.

3. Watch what you drink and eat

Whether it is hot soup, water or fruit juice, many experts believe it is important to drink a minimum of eight 250ml cups of fluid a day during a bout of flu. Common flu symptoms such as sweating and runny noses increase the amount of water your body loses, so keeping up your fluid intake prevents dehydration. Drinking also relieves congestion, stopping mucus building up in your lungs, which could lead to pneumonia. Foods high in vitamin C, such as kiwifruit and green peppers, as well as those rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and squash, can help boost your immune system.

4. Keep warm and stay home

Staying warm when you first go down with flu helps the body preserve its energy for the immune battle. Experts recommend staying home from work and resting until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours to avoid passing on the virus. This can also reduce the risk of developing complications such as pneumonia.

5. Try NAC supplements

N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant. Research has shown it can reduce both the duration and severity of flu by boosting immunity, reducing respiratory mucus and inhibiting the ability of the virus to replicate.

Contributor

David Cox

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Five ways to quit smoking
Getting on with it is the most important thing. But there are tricks to make sure you don’t give in to the inevitable cravings

David Cox

09, Jun, 2019 @3:12 PM

Article image
Five ways to beat hay fever
One in four of us are affected by this seasonal allergy. We asked experts for their advice

Amy Sedghi

12, May, 2019 @3:00 PM

Article image
Five ways to cope with menstrual cramps
From ginger to gentle exercise or over-the-counter painkillers, gynaecology experts advise on how to alleviate pain

Amy Sedghi

16, Jun, 2019 @3:00 PM

Article image
Five ways to deal with head lice and nits
Parents dread discovering an infestation of the itchy menaces, but with the right approach you can stop them in their tracks

Amy Fleming

20, Oct, 2019 @2:59 PM

Article image
Five ways to be upbeat
Writing down the good things that have happened during the day, getting out into nature and setting realistic goals can all help you achieve a more positive outlook

Nell Frizzell

13, Jan, 2020 @6:00 AM

Article image
Five ways to manage travel sickness
Focus on your breathing, stay still – and keep your eyes on the horizon

Emine Saner

26, May, 2019 @2:59 PM

Article image
Five ways to maintain healthy bowels
Diet is crucial, but don’t forget to exercise, reduce your stress levels – and go when you need to go

David Cox

22, Sep, 2019 @3:00 PM

Article image
Five ways to start doing squats safely
Warming up properly, the right weights and a balanced stance are crucial if you want to get the most out of squats and avoid injury – and these are just the basics

Amy Sedghi

01, Apr, 2019 @5:14 PM

Article image
Five ways to exercise safely while pregnant
Exercise for mothers-to-be has many benefits – just avoid the high-intensity workouts and new PBs

Amy Sedghi

28, Apr, 2019 @3:00 PM

Article image
Five ways to have a healthier lunchtime
Choose your food carefully, don’t eat at your desk – and try for a quick burst of exercise

Emine Saner

18, Aug, 2019 @1:00 PM