How you take care of yourself when flu symptoms start can make all the difference in the lifespan of the virus.
First, don’t catch the flu
“The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year,” says Niket Sonpal, MD, a New York City-based internist and gastroenterologist. While a flu shot will significantly decrease your chances of getting the flu it is still possible to contract the virus, so make sure to take extra precautions (like the ones outlined here) in addition to getting vaccinated, especially if you start to feel the symptoms associated with the flu.
How to know if you’re getting the flu
Dr. Sonpal says the first signs of flu can include feeling feverish, having chills, a cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue, and vomiting or diarrhea (though the last two tend to happen more in children than adults). If you have one or more of these symptoms talk to your doctor to see if you have the flu and follow these early treatment tips. Here are 10 signs your flu might be deadly.
Wash your hands
If you are starting to feel like you might have a cold or the flu, washing your hands can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others. “This is an easy way to stop the spreading of germs,” Dr. Sonpal says. In fact, a study published in Tropical Medicine & International Health found that good hand washing hygiene reduced the risk of respiratory illness by 16 percent. Check out the 10 ways you’re washing your hands wrong.