5 ways to fight the flu (and when to call your doctor).

Dr. Sara Schuster
December 15, 2022
5 min read

If it seems like everyone you know is getting sick, it’s not your imagination. 

Flu season is here and it’s back with a vengeance. Flu season has started early in the United States and is packing an even bigger punch than usual this time around. And now that most people have stopped masking, more people are getting sick. 

Here are five tips to help fight the flu and get better... faster. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that your immune system depends on, especially during flu season. Unfortunately, some of us are lacking in vitamin D due to a diet low in the vitamin and a lack of sun exposure.

A study conducted by the Department of Emergency Medicine confirms that vitamin D helps protect against the seasonal cold and flu. They found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of respiratory infection in half. If you're lacking in vitamin D, taking supplements can give your body the boost it needs to fight off the flu and recover faster. 

Sleep/rest

Sleeping well is an important factor to living a healthy life, and when you're sick, it’s essential. When you sleep, your body calls your immune system to use proteins, white blood cells and other substances to fight off invaders.

A lack of sleep can hurt our immune system's ability to fight off illnesses, such as the flu, and could prolong recovery time, so it’s essential to sleep well. 

Moisture

Flu season begins around fall and ends around spring, which is the driest time for the U.S. When you're sick, it’s easy to become dehydrated due to sweating, coughing and other nasty side effects. Being dehydrated when ill can also cause your body to have trouble regulating its temperature. 

Humidifiers and Neti pots can also help ease discomfort and help you bounce back faster. Keeping your nasal passages moistened helps to flush mucus and clear congestion. These methods are especially helpful when feeling light-headed or weak. 

When to see a doctor

Most people who get the flu can get better at home with adequate rest hydration. However, there are some who are at a greater risk of developing serious complications and should see their primary care doctor. The flu can lead to pneumonia, bronchitis and can worsen pre-existing conditions like asthma.

Individuals with an increased risk include people 65+, children under 12 months, and those who have a weakened immune system or pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes. 

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Dr. Sara Schuster
December 15, 2022

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