How to Get Rid of the Flu Faster

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The flu can take its time leaving your body, which can make for an uncomfortable few days (or even weeks). Get rid of the flu faster with help from a health expert in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Cold-Weather Sickness Remedies
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to be talking about how to get rid of the flu faster. Well, the first way to get rid of the flu faster is something you do before you get the flu which is to get vaccinated against influenza. Not everybody who gets the flu vaccine will be 100 percent protected from getting the flu. But if you do get the flu vaccine and get the flu, chances are that your symptoms are much more likely to be mild and shorter in duration. So, that's something to do at the beginning of the flu season, before you ever get sick. Now, let's say you have gotten the flu and you want to know how to get rid of it. Well, the first thing to do is to try and catch it in the first 48 hours of illness. There are anti-influenzal medicines that we use in some seasons. The most common is a medicine called Tamiflu, but there's another one called Relenza. And depending on what kind of flu you have and what season it is, these medicines may both be effective. That said, if you've had flu longer than 48 hours, they probably are not going to do you any good at all. Things to look for, yes, cold symptoms, runny nose, stuffy nose, fever, cough, headache. But also, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, those are symptoms that are more common in flu and less common in other run-of-the-mill colds. So, if you think you are getting something like that, go ahead and seek a doctor's care in the first 48 hours of symptoms before it's too late to treat. Now, what happens if you couldn't treat or it's too late? How can you get better faster? There are a very few interventions that have been shown to shorten the duration of a viral illness like influenza, but the simplest one and most effective is good sleep. We know that people who get a decent night's sleep are less susceptible to viral illnesses, and do tend to get better a little faster. Now, you hear other things like, "drink plenty of fluids," that may help you feel better. It's not clear that it will make you healthy any faster. There are many over-the-counter and homeopathic, and naturopathic remedies. Many of them claim to help with the flu, but when you go looking at the scientific literature to prove that they can do what they say they can do, unfortunately there's just not a lot out there that shows these claims are really valid. So, I can't really recommend any of them because we got to go with the science here. So, talking about how to get rid of the flu faster, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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