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Charge Up for Good Health

I have the flu. What’s the best way to feel better fast?

I have the flu. What’s the best way to feel better fast?

Don't bother taking antibiotics; they're completely useless against any flu or cold. And besides contributing to antibiotic resistance, they could cause unpleasant side effects, such as an upset stomach or rash. If, however, you've been sick for less than 48 hours, ask your doctor for a prescription antiviral medication. It can shorten seasonal and swine flu by a few days -- as long as you take it promptly.

In addition, no matter how sick I am, I force myself to get lots of fluids and tell my patients to do the same. Hydration helps to thin mucous so your body can get rid of it -- along with any trapped viruses. I also swear by warm showers, which help open the sinuses and clear any impacted mucous.

Finally, do stay home when you're sick. If you go to work or school, you risk infecting someone who has a weaker immune system and who could suffer serious symptoms. Adults can spread both cold and flu viruses until they've been free of fever (without medication) for 24 hours. Children, however, shed more virus in their mucus and other bodily fluids and are still contagious for three to four days after a fever is gone.

If you go to the doctor, I recommend wearing a face mask. In addition, make sure you cover all coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.



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