Getting the flu in the past was irritating. Today, with the spread of coronavirus, it’s more than that, it’s a little scary!
There are very specific flu symptoms that you should watch out for such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, runny nose/stuffy nose, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea, or even vomiting.
While these symptoms seem distinct, they are really very similar to other illnesses such as Covid-19 and (less seriously) allergies. Let’s take a look at the differences!
The Flu vs Covid-19
Covid-19 is certainly the most threatening of these similar illnesses. The primary symptoms of Covid-19 include fever, fatigue, dry cough, and shortness of breath.
There aren’t a lot of differences among the flu and coronavirus but the most common way to tell the difference is if you have shortness of breath. So, are you noticing you’re out of breath after completing small tasks that didn’t affect you before? If so, this may be cause for concern.
There’s another big difference between the flu and Covid-19 and that’s how fast your symptoms onset. With the flu, your symptoms normally appear fast and abrupt (it all hits you at once) while with Covid-19, your symptoms will appear in a gradual manner.
In layman terms, if you have the flu your symptoms will appear in 1-4 days while with Covid-19 they will develop between 1-14 days.
Flu vs Allergies
Again, you may notice a lot of flu symptoms overlap with common allergy symptoms. The most common allergy symptoms are headache, stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, and sometimes even a sore throat.
One of the easiest ways to determine if you have the flu, and not allergies, is if you have a fever. Allergies are not known to cause any sort of fever or change in body temperature. It should also be noted that allergies don’t bring about extreme exhaustion like the flu almost always does. So if either of these two symptoms are prominent, you most likely have the flu.
Now more than ever it’s important to take your flu symptoms seriously, and to start treating them right away, at home. You can treat them by:
Having the flu, especially the more advanced symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting, can leave you exhausted and dehydrated. Try to keep fluids in you, even if it’s just water. Drinks high in electrolytes such as Pedialite or Gatorade can also help.
We know your daily coffee may look tempting, but when sick with the flu be sure to avoid caffeinated beverages as they are diuretics.
Keeping your Energy Up
Even if your appetite is low, try to keep something in your stomach to help nourish your body. By eating, you’re fueling your body with energy and nutrients that help you fight off the flu.
Some of the best foods to eat when you’re sick with the flu are citrus, yogurt, and soups high in zinc (a.k.a. With crab, chicken, chickpeas, beans).
Easing your Symptoms
As we’ve said, there are many symptoms associated with the flu. In wake of Covid-19, there is a great effort for medical providers to keep non-emergent cases out of the medical facilities to stop the spread of this virus.
Before heading into your GP or the emergency room, check with your medical provider to see if you should start taking care of your symptoms at home.
There are many over-the-counter drugs that you can take if you have the flu or flu symptoms such as DayQuil/NyQuil, Theraflu, Sudafed PE, and Delsym.
If those treatments don’t work, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends taking antiviral drugs as one treatment option for the flu. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that can only be prescribed by your doctor. We do want to reiterate that before heading into your GP or the emergency room, you should check with your medical provider to see if these prescriptions can be prescribed over the phone or if they warrant an in-person evaluation.
Whether the medicine is fast-acting or not you’ll probably experience some throat discomfort. Cough drops are soothing lozenges that can help ease your pain and temporarily help relieve your cough.
Having the flu heavily affects your throat, lungs, and nasal passages. One of the best purchases you can make when you have the flu is a humidifier. Humidifiers help bring moisture to these passages which makes it easier for air to pass through. For even more comfort try using a warm mist humidifier.
Once you’re feeling better you can continue to use your humidifier to help remain well. That’s right, humidifiers help your nasal passages remain moist which helps the hairs in your nose continue to fight germs and bacteria!
Gargle with Salt Water
Whether you believe in homeopathic remedies or not there are real testimonies that this home remedy actually works. This is a simple concoction created by adding a half a teaspoon of table salt to a cup of warm water. Once your solution is mixed, gargle for 30 seconds and spit it out. You can repeat the process a couple more times for more relief.
You may be wondering how this works. Well, warm liquids help ease painful sore throats, which is why tea can also help in this situation. When combined with salt, it can help kill bacteria, loosen mucus, and ease your pain even more.
Don’t put away that table salt just yet! If your sinuses are clogged to the point of relentless pain you can always try nasal irrigation.
You can use a squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or neti pot to pour a saline solution (a.k.a. Salt water) slowly into one nostril. By tilting your head, you’ll ensure that the water exits your other nostril and drains allergens, mucus, and other debris along with it.
There are many health warnings associated with nasal irrigation and before you attempt to do so you should be sure you know the risks. Be sure that you’re using clean water: either filtered, distilled, or previously boiled and be sure your instrument of choice is cleaned thoroughly.
It may be tempting to charge through the flu as if it can’t bring you down! While your laundry might be waiting, the kitchen might need cleaning, or deadlines might be pressing, you need to know that what your body needs most of all is rest. By prioritizing your rest over all other responsibilities you’re helping your body to heal and fight infection. So put your feet up, ignore the mess, and catch up on that reality TV show you’re embarrassed about watching.