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How to Beat the Flu This Year

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You've Got the Flu -- Now What?

One minute you feel fine; the next, you've got a headache, a fever, and muscle aches and pains. "The flu strikes like lightning," says Susan J. Rehm, MD, vice chairman of the department of infectious diseases at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. At the first sign of these symptoms, ask your doctor for a prescription for Tamiflu or Relenza, antiviral medications that have been shown to lessen the intensity and duration of influenza if taken within the first 48 hours.

Once the flu is full-blown, the best thing you can do is stay in bed and drink plenty of liquids to keep your body hydrated. To help lessen your symptoms, try:

  • Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: To soothe a fever and ease aches, chills, and a sore throat.
  • An antihistamine: To quiet a cough. You can also take an over-the-counter cough medicine, but according to the latest research from the American College of Chest Physicians, many of these remedies may be ineffective.
  • Saline nasal sprays and/or a decongestant: To help unstuff your nose and open breathing passages.
  • Chicken soup: Studies at the University of Nebraska showed that the soup can reduce inflammation and may limit symptoms.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November 2006.

 

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