Feeling lethargic? No strength to move? Having a headache? Feeling the chills even though you are covered in blankets? Sounds like you are down with the dreaded influenza, or flu virus.
At first, you may think that you’ve caught a cold since the symptoms like runny nose, sore throat and fever are alike. However, colds usually develop gradually over a few days, whereas the flu hits you (without any warning) like a truck. Compared to having a cold, you will usually feel much worse with the flu due to a myriad of these symptoms:
- Fever over 38oC
- Aching muscles
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Diarrhea or vomiting (more common in children)
One common misconception is that the seasonal flu is non-threatening. Unfortunately, the influenza virus is more potent than you think. It can cause complications such as sinus, ear infection, pneumonia, and heart muscle inflammation. People with chronic medical conditions, the elderly (aged 65 years and older), and young children (aged 5 years and under) are at higher risks of developing these complications.
Early diagnosis and treatment can protect you from the flu and its complications. Therefore, if you experience flu symptoms, see a doctor right away – visit or teleconsult with one!
Here are some health tips to guide you on the path of recovery:
- Be socially responsible. Stay at home and rest well.
When you start to exhibit flu symptoms, you are sick and very contagious! Do not go to work/school, and avoid crowded places to minimise the transmission of the infection to others.
See a doctor instead and just focus on getting some much-needed rest so that your body is in best form to battle the virus. You may teleconsult a doctor on the Doctor World app to get medication for your flu. Available 24/7, the teleconsultation comes with the convenience of medication delivered to your doorstep. Doctors onboard Doctor World can issue medical leave too (where appropriate).
- Hydrate! Every sip counts.
Make sure you drink lots of water for your body needs the fluids to try to get well. Avoid sugary drinks and certainly alcohol (which can dehydrate you further). Liquids hydrate your respiratory system, loosening up stuffiness and congestion. Otherwise, the mucus build-up in lungs can lead to further infections.
- Antivirals can shorten your downtime.
Antiviral medicines (not to be confused with antibiotics) work by interfering with the influenza virus’s entry into uninfected cells. They disrupt the release of newly formed influenza virus from infected cells.
Taking antiviral drugs may reduce the duration of your illness and help prevent the flu from developing into something more serious. It is most effective when taken within 48 hours of showing flu symptoms.
Antivirals are only available with a doctor’s prescription, which will be issued when the doctor has assessed that the antiviral medicine is suitable for the patient. Always consult a doctor for advice!
Prevention is better than cure – get vaccinated!
Flu vaccination is available and beneficial particularly for persons with higher chances of developing complications from a flu infection. It is recommended that you go for annual flu vaccination even if you are a healthy adult, especially if you live with or take care of the following:
- Elderly (aged 65 years and above)
- People with low immunity (e.g. undergoing cancer treatment or have certain diseases like HIV)
- Young children (aged 5 years and below)
To get a vaccination, you can use the Doctor World app to purchase and book an appointment for your influenza vaccination! (Psst! Key in code, DW5, during checkout in our Health Store for member’s price.)
Other good habits that promote prevention:
Besides getting a vaccination, practising these healthy habits and good personal hygiene can minimise the spread of the flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a surgical mask if you are ill.
- Never spit in public places.
- When sharing food at mealtimes, use a serving spoon.