Did you know that a mutation in this year's flu virus has made it more resistant to the flu vaccine? This means that even if you've received the vaccine, you still need to take precautions. Staying educated is the first step.
Since you were a kid, you've probably heard the same thing over and over about having a cold. Eat hot soup, stay bundled up, and drink lots of fluids.
Most adults today lead busy lives and simply don't have time to get sick. When they do, they opt for over-the-counter products that will allow them to function.
However, it turns out that staying hydrated is one of the strongest weapons you have to beat the flu.
Let's learn exactly what fluids can do for you.
Fight Your Fever
One of the most unpleasant things about having the flu is the fever that comes along with it. In addition to causing headaches, chills, and overall body pain, a fever causes the body to lose water.
The dehydration a fever can cause will then weaken your immune system, thus causing your fever to either linger or get worse. You can probably see the vicious cycle forming here.
This is why staying hydrated is so important when trying to beat the flu. Simply by preventing dehydration, you stay ahead of the virus.
Another symptom of a bad fever are those cold sweats you get. This is actually your body trying to release some of the heat.
However, when you're dehydrated, there's no sweat in your body. This means the heat gets trapped and your fever remains. Get control of your body temperature by keeping a bottle of cool water by your bed.
Keep Your Respiratory System Clear
In addition to a high fever, the flu also causes respiratory issues in the head, chest, and throat. This is often in the form of coughing, congestion, and mucus.
If you're dehydrated, the mucus and respiratory buildup become thicker, making it harder for your body to expel it - not the most pleasant thing to think about. But when this happens, it makes it harder to beat the flu, and the whole ordeal becomes more uncomfortable.
Drinking plenty of fluids works wonders for your respiratory problems. It helps thin down and loosen mucus, making it easier to clear from your system.
This is when adding some hot green tea with lemon to your fluid regimen comes in handy. The warmth of the tea soothes your chest and throat and also creates a similar effect as a humidifier - all while helping you hydrate.
When you're trying to beat the flu, sometimes you need more than water. The sweating associated with a fever along with the vomiting and diarrhea that often accompany the flu cause a loss of electrolytes.
These are important minerals found in your blood and other bodily fluids. They work to help maintain a healthy balance in your body's chemistry. Potassium and sodium are the primary electrolytes your body needs, especially when sick.
The problem is, water alone won't replace these. You need something that's engineered to provide a boost of these essential minerals.
Sports drinks contain electrolytes, but unfortunately, lots of sugar. Instead, look for healthier, more natural electrolyte drinks. They'll help rehydrate and also give back what the flu has taken away.
Remember, don't completely substitute water for these drinks. Just supplement your water intake with them.
Keep Your System Balanced
To beat the flu, your body needs to remain balanced, which means properly absorbing nutrients and getting rid of waste and toxins. It can't do this if you're dehydrated.
The appropriate amount of daily water consumption also aids in digestion and helps keep your intestinal tract healthy. You should always try to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, especially when you have the flu.
Water also helps balance those electrolytes we talked about. So, a good game plan when trying to get better is to drink water throughout the day and throw in an electrolyte drink every now and then.
This will ensure your kidneys remain strong and can get rid of the toxins that have built up. It also ensures you're continuously flushing out your system.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Without a healthy immune system, it's hard for your body to beat the flu or any other illness. Your immune system is what protects you and wards off viruses and infection, so it's your best friend when you're sick.
Staying hydrated is great for your immune system for a number of reasons. First, it helps get rid of toxins which compromise your immune system and make it harder to fight infection.
In addition, water helps carry oxygen to your cells through your bloodstream, which ensures all your muscles and internal organs are functioning correctly. When your body is functioning at a high level, your immune system is stronger.
Dehydration is also bad for the kidneys, which detoxify your body. That's why when you're dehydrated, you may suffer from constipation.
This is a hard one because when you're sick, you sometimes find that consuming anything causes nausea, even vomiting. However, it turns out that dehydration can actually cause nausea, especially when you're already ill.
When you're trying to beat the flu, you want to minimize your symptoms as much as possible. This means you need to drink fluids so you don't simultaneously have to deal with the symptoms of dehydration.
If drinking fluids make you nauseous, try only taking small sips, or even eating ice chips. Your main concern should be getting some sort of consistent fluid intake.
Stay Hydrated and Beat the Flu
The flu is hard enough the beat. Don't make it harder by not getting enough fluids.
After you've beaten the flu, maintain a healthy fluid intake every day. You'll find that you feel better and your immune system will be ready when the next flu season comes around.
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