9 Self-Care Tips If You Get The Flu This Season
Flu season is here, and while you're taking steps to prevent the flu — like getting your flu shot, encouraging your sick coworkers to stay home, and practicing good hygiene — it never hurts to keep a list of self-care activities for when you have the flu in your back pocket in case you do get the virus. The Mayo Clinic reports that flu symptoms usually start about two days after you get exposed, and can be mild to severe. You might have chills, a fever, body aches, or a runny nose, but most healthy adults under age 65 can recover at home without medical treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic. (If you are running a fever of over 103 degrees, though, or have other severe symptoms, it's important to see your doctor ASAP.) But if you're riding the illness out at home, practicing good self-care can make all the difference in how quickly you bounce back.
Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it’s important to take good care of yourself when when you have the flu. It’s best to stay home, rest, and avoid contact with other people as much as you can. And while no one likes being sick and stuck at home, good flu self-care strategies can help you recover more quickly, while providing some comfort in the process, too. According to Health, sometimes you get stuck with a bout of the flu no matter what you do, so making sure that you’re optimizing the healing process is key. While having the flu isn't any fun, and can in fact be dangerous, good self-care activities can help you get back to your non-flu-ridden self in no time.
1. Get Lots Of Sleep
Resting and sleeping as much as you can when you have the flu is essential to a speedy recovery, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whatever you do, don't fight the fatigue, and make sure to get as much sleep as possible. You may also find that sitting up, or sleeping with your head upright, might be more comfortable if you're feeling congested.
2. Drink Hot Tea
Hot teas have been sipped since time immemorial for helping to treat colds and flu. Hot liquids are thought to help loosen and clear up congestion, soothe a sore throat, and are a great balm for flu-induced chills. The New York Times reports that research now confirms that hot drinks do actually help treat cold and flu symptoms, so feel free to sip away when you're under the weather.
3. Try Aromatherapy
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Aromatherapy diffusers provide a humidifying effect, while dispersing scents throughout your room to get rid of that musty sickness smell. Some essential oils used in aromatherapy can even have anti-bacterial or anti-viral properties, though they're no match for a good deep clean. Tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, clove, and thyme are great essential oils for when you have the flu.
4. Take Steamy Showers & Baths
Hot, steamy showers and baths can help ease any chills you might have, while the hot steam can help break up and loosen sinus and upper respiratory congestion. Not to mention, getting clean in the midst of feeling sick feels good AF.
5. Use Honey & Lemon For A Sore Throat
Honey is soothing to a sore throat, and also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, while lemon boasts loads of vitamin C. A warm mug of hot water with lemon and honey is a "go-to" beverage of choice for many cold and flu-ridden folks, Medical News Daily reports.
6. Watch Something Funny
Obviously, you're going to be marathoning Netflix while you ride out this cold, so why not let your TV selection do some immune-system-supporting work for you? A four-part review published in 2009 found that humor can influence the immune system and the different aspects that make it work. At the very least, it can't hurt to watch a stand-up special for the bajillionth time while you're waiting to be up and moving again.
7. Get Cozy
8. Get Comfy
As if you needed another excuse to wear your sweats all day. Wearing loose, comfy clothing while you're sick will help you rest better. And if you're feeling sweaty, breathable fabrics like flannel or cotton will help wick away that gross clammy feeling.
According to Health, it's important to stay well hydrated when you're sick since you might be losing more fluids via sweating. Also, not getting enough fluids can decrease your body's ability to fight off infection, so make sure to sip enough fresh water throughout the day when you're not feeling well.
While getting sick is no one's idea of the best time ever, good self-care while you recover is key. So, take good care of yourself, rest, give yourself adequate time to fully ditch the flu virus (no rush), and you'll be back on your feet in no time.