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How to prevent & treat the flu

Fall means it’s time to begin preparations for the holidays, plan gatherings with family and friends, enjoy first snowfalls — and deal with the not-so-fun cold and flu season. Here are a few tips to help you prevent the spread of the flu and treat it quickly.

Woman with flu taking pain reliever

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends three actions to help fight the spread of the flu:

  1. Get a flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in the fall.
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and wash your hands often.
  3. Take antiviral drugs if prescribed by your doctor.

1Stay home when you’re sick

Your friends and colleagues will appreciate your decision to keep your germs to yourself, and you’ll be better able to treat the flu and recover quickly. Your body needs the rest to recover; sleep helps your immune system fight infections. This makes staying home a win-win for all parties involved.

2Drink liquids

The doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend water, juice and warm soups to help prevent dehydration.

3Take over-the-counter pain relief

For achy muscles, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you have any questions, consult with your doctor first. Don’t give aspirin to children under 17 who are suffering from the flu; it is associated with Reyes Syndrome.

4Add salt

Here’s a classic home remedy that can’t be beat: Gargle with warm salt water a few times a day to relieve a sore throat. If your nose is stuffy or sore, use saline nose drops or a neti pot to help loosen mucus and moisten the tender skin in your nose.

5Don’t forget your vitamins

Take vitamins C and D, niacin and thiamine. Though the scientific jury’s still out, vitamin C may help prevent common colds and reduce a cold’s severity and duration — and may even help prevent and fight influenza. Vitamin D and niacin have antiviral properties, while thiamine, a B vitamin, may help strengthen the immune system and fight the influenza virus. Of course, before adding any supplements to your diet, consult your doctor.

Tell us

What is your go-to home treatment for the flu?

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