How to Handle Flu Season: What to Take & How to Clean
It’s flu season, and as we’ve covered before, keeping your immune system strong can help prevent you and your family from being susceptible to infection by the influenza (flu) virus. If you’re able, it’s also recommended that you get a flu shot at your local pharmacy (this is often free with your insurance, but call your pharmacist if you’re not sure).
But what if you’ve already got the flu?
First, talk to your doctor! Especially as COVID-19 continues to be of concern, you may need to get tested to make sure it’s the flu you’re dealing with and not the novel coronavirus.
Most of the time, rest and fluids are enough to treat the flu, though recommendations from the Mayo Clinic suggest asking your doctor for an antiviral prescription if you’re at high risk for complications or dealing with a severe infection.
As far as practical tips for handling the flu at home, here’s what we recommend:
A fever is one of the most common symptoms of the flu and may leave you dehydrated, fast. To prevent or treat dehydration, enrich your water intake with rehydrating, nourishing electrolyte solutions like the lemon-flavored powder found here. Drinking plenty of water is also important to help loosen up and expel congestion in your sinuses and lungs.
Have helpful treatments on hand
For the fever and body aches that usually characterize the flu, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen). Cannabidiol, more commonly referred to as CBD is also widely considered to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and may help provide relief from aching joints and muscles.
When you’re considering natural treatments, immune-boosting supplements like Elderberry can help. The flu is a viral illness, and elderberry has long been known to be an herbal virus-fighter, helping prevent and treat symptoms of cold and flu. You can learn more about this powerful plant’s anti-viral properties in this blog post by Sona pharmacist Scott Henson.
Rest and stay comfortable
If you’re sick with the flu, it’s important to stay home and rest. Staying home helps ensure you don’t pass the virus to anyone else or overexert yourself, weakening your immune system more while it’s already busy trying to make you well. While you’re waiting for your immune system to do its thing, make your sickbed more pleasant by stocking your nightstand with helpful and comforting items.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Ricola Lemon Mint Cough Drops — perfect for a sore throat, and they’re so delicious they could be candy
- Burt’s Bees Lip Balm — it’s easy for lips to get dry and chapped when you’re feverish and coughing
- Cool mist humidifiers — moisture is so important; a cool-mist humidifier can help soothe inflamed sinuses and lungs
- A cold pack — if you’re dealing with a fever, resting a cold pack on your forehead can provide the relief you need to get some rest
How to keep your home flu-free
During flu season, take extra care with your cleaning to prevent the spread of the virus. According to info from the CDC, the flu virus can live on objects like doorknobs and tables for up to 48 hours, so it’s important to clean thoroughly and regularly.
Here’s how to clean when you’re facing the flu:
Don’t skip wash day
Use virus-killing detergents in warm water to wash clothing, towels, kitchen linens, and bed linens. The flu virus can live for days in absorbent materials, so if you have come in contact with someone with the flu, or if someone in your home is recovering from the flu, you won’t want to skip laundry day. If a child has been sick with the flu, make sure to clean toys regularly and throw any washable stuffies in the washer.
Disinfect high-traffic areas
Use disinfectant cleaners like Clorox or Lysol to wipe down non-porous, high-touch surfaces regularly. These include doorknobs, light switches, fridge handles, remote controls, cabinet doors, faucet handles, and even chair backs.
Spray tough-to-clean surfaces
For surfaces that are harder to wipe down or wash, like upholstery and certain toys, sprays are the way to go. Lysol disinfectant spray is great for disinfecting fabric surfaces and hard surfaces like toys. Alternatively, you can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide spray for items like toys. (And, in case you’re wondering, items treated with a peroxide solution don’t need to be rinsed — simply let them dry completely.)
Don’t let the flu stop you from enjoying the season! Stay safe, stay healthy, and have fun this fall!