Saturday, May 30, 2009

What to do if you get the flu? [Here's what I did]

A few days ago, Monday afternoon in fact,I suddenly sensed a change in my body. I suddenly felt really lousy. I had been feeling irritable and moody over the weekend, but by Monday afternoon I could feel a birdsnest growing in my upper throat, right behind the nasal area. It was a sort of itchy and wet sensation. This was followed by my skin feeling prickly and almost painful to the touch.

On the way home from work I went to a pharmacy and asked for "something that can dry up phlegm." I was given sinumax, with paracetamol. I didn't think this was correct as I didn't think I was suffering from sinusitus. It felt like a cold, not sinusitis. Nevertheless the pharmacist said it would relieve the mucous problem. She was right.

The next day, Tuesday, I felt a lot worse, and so didn't go to work. Sinumax was effective in drying up the mucous,I was sniffing a lot less. Usually mucous builds up in the nasal area and then drips down, causing first a sore throat and then a cough. You remain sick for the duration of the period that it takes to get all the gunk that has accumulated in your lungs, out again. If this takes long enough you can get a secondary infection, which predicates the use of anti-biotics. One of the nastier secondary infections is strep-throat.

On Wednesday I felt worse than Tuesday, including symptoms of dizziness and fever. I stayed away from milk and other dairy products. Anything sugary feeds these germs in your throat passages. I gargled once with salty water, something I should have done more. I went to the doctor on Wednesday and she supported the use of Sinumax to dry up the excess mucous. She advised gargling with salt water, and prescribed Vita-Thion to bolster my immunity and Bisolvon Linctus to further dilute phlegm. She also prescribed celestamine, which is a great medication used to open up the airways (often used for bee stings). I haven't used that as I think it tends to make one very sleepy. Sinumax certainly does.

By Thursday the dizziness and fever was gone, but I was still very mucous-y. Friday I thought I'd be all better. I'm somewhat improved, but still feel weak and sniffy.
I think I'll be back in the gym by Monday, Sunday if I'm really feeling good. 4-5 days sickness, with only 3 really bad days - you could do worse. So if you want to get over flu, any flu, as soon as you can, here's my list of tips:

1) Catch it quickly, and begin treating it quickly. Use an over-the-counter paracetamol like Sinumax to dry up excess phlegm. You can get this immediately without a doctors prescription.
2) Stay indoors and if you live with someone, no kissing, wash hands etc. Try not to go shopping or to work while you're coughing and sniffing. It's for your benefit and their's
3) If your symptoms are getting worse, call your doctor. If your throat is very painful, almost unbearable to swallow, you should have your flu tested (a mouth swab or a blood test is done).
4) Take vitamin C via fresh fruit, and get some vitamin D from a few minutes exposure to direct sunlight (face and body).
It's well known that Vitamin D deficiency is behind our vulnerability to flu; Vitamin C can relieve the symptoms somewhat
5) Stay away from sugary foods such as chocolates, sodas, cakes, sweets, dairy products, greasy foods and spicy foods. Breads, fish and certain vegetables are fine. Drink lots of water or lemon tea. Lemons, apples and oranges are great.
6) Get plenty of rest. Sleep rest. I find the value in the medications I get not so much in the chemicals themselves, but that they make one sleepy.
7) Start building up your immunity by eating properly and getting into a good sleep pattern. Chances are, you were draining your body in one or both of these areas.

I am going to start training again only once I feel 100%. If you start sooner, you'll get sick sooner. Happy health ;-)

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