It’s that time of the year, the leaves are falling, pumpkins are being carved, and it the weather can be forty degrees in the morning, seventy during lunch, and back to fifty for the commute home. With this unpredictable weather and everyone trying to squeeze out the last seconds of outdoor fun, it’s very easy to fall under the weather.
Here are three of the biggest mistakes that people make when they first feel sick:
Go to school or work. If you aren’t feeling well, it’s imperative that you take the time to stay home, rest, and recover. What you do during the first couple of days when you aren’t feeling well completely determine if it’s going to get worse or if you’re going to recover quickly. Take the time to stay home for a day, before you have to be home for a week because you have the flu.
Seek the wrong medication. Do not run to your doctor seeking antibiotics, because they don’t work on viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, and influenza is a viral infection.
Stay in bed all day. It’s vitally important to get rest but lying down can make it harder on the lungs. Try sitting upright so it’s easier to clear the lungs. If you have the energy, go for a walk around the block and get some fresh air.
Here are two of the best responses when you feel sick:
Take natural remedies. One of my favorites is Oscillococcinum, an over-the-counter homeopathic medicine. This non-drowsy medicine has been used for decades to reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms including body aches, chills, and fever, but works best if started in the first 48 hours. A study found that 63 percent of patients who took Oscillococcinum within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms showed “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” within 48 hours. It’s ideal for anyone age two and up. Some lesser-known supplements you can try are black elderberry extract which can decrease flu severity and boost the body’s immune system; butterbur which has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the recovery; and basil, an herbal expectorant that is helpful in treating illnesses that involve excess mucus and may also help soothe earaches.
See your doctor. This is what your doctor is here for! As doctor’s, we’re here to help you. If you just search your symptoms online, you’ll convince yourself that you have the worst virus that exists! Go to your doctor so you can learn what you have. In my book, Bond: The 4 Cornerstones of a Lasting and Caring Relationship with Your Doctor, I share my experiences and emphasize the importance of the patient-doctor bond.
It’s important to do everything you can to stay Flu free this fall and maybe even more important to take the right steps when you do feel sick.