Treatment Tips for Colds and Flu
How to Treat the Flu if You Get Sick This Year
Flu season is right around the corner. From a runny nose to a sore throat and pounding headache, a flu symptoms treatment has to be quick and effective to ensure you recover with as minimal downtime and discomfort as possible.
Have you gotten your flu vaccination? Do you know what each flu vaccine abbreviation means and how to pick the right one for you? There’s a lot to learn when it comes to flu symptoms and treatment. Read on to learn why the flu shot vaccine is the best treatment you can get this season as well as some treatment tips and home remedies for treating flu symptoms and the common cold.
Why You Should Get the Flu Shot
Each year, 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu. Around 200,000 are hospitalized because of the virus, but less than half of Americans get an annual flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine changes and improves every year; the influenza virus that spreads throughout the season evolves, and each flu shot vaccine includes antibodies that defend against new strands of the virus. It takes two weeks on average for your immune system to adapt to the new antibodies, so getting the flu vaccine before flu season is in full swing is the best way to protect you and your loved ones.
Even if you don’t have health insurance, flu shots cost under $50. Some organizations even offer free vaccinations, so you can easily protect yourself.
Here’s What Each Flu Vaccine Abbreviation Means
The flu shot vaccine can be administered in two ways: injected with a needle or taken as a nasal spray.
There are abbreviations for the different types of flu shots available; understanding what each one means and who its best for can help you feel more confident about getting your own.
- IIV3: Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. Trivalent shots protect against three to four strands of influenza and are appropriate for patients between 18 to 34. IIV3 flu vaccination are administered via injection into the arm.
- IIV4: Quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. IIV4 flu vaccinations are appropriate for different age groups including babies as young as 6 months. These shots contain the flu virus grown in a cell culture and protects against two types of influenza A and B that circulate most throughout flu season.
- LAIV: Live attenuated influenza vaccine. LAIV is a nasal spray flu vaccination includes a weakened, live variation of the flu. The nasal spray protects patients against three different types of influenza and is ideal for patients over age 2 but younger than 50.
Flu Symptoms and Treatment
The cold and flu share some common symptoms. A runny nose, headache, and sore throat are typical signs that you’ve caught something.
While most people who come down with one of these viruses will fully recover with a little R&R in a week or so, it’s important to keep track of how your symptoms progress and follow some of these tips to alleviate your discomfort and help your body’s natural healing process.
Break Out the Humidifier
A good flu runny nose treatment is to sleep in a room with a humidifier. If you don’t have one, turn on the shower and sit in the bathroom for a bit. The steam and added moisture help thin mucus and clear the sinuses.
When you’re sick, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. When you’re sick, you lose more fluids through a runny nose and vomiting. Additional fluid intake through soups, water, teas and the like can help clear your upper respiratory system faster.
Try Some Salt
Over-the-counter saline solutions are a cost-effective flu runny nose treatment. They’re easy to use and can provide quick relief. While you’re at the pharmacy, you may want to grab an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Ibuprofen or Aleve. These medications are safe to take and can make your symptoms much more manageable until they clear up.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
We can’t 100-percent guarantee we won’t catch a cold this winter, but we can take extra measures to decrease the risk. While you can find a lot of flu symptoms treatment options, the best thing to do is prevent it as much as you can by getting vaccinated.