A typical course of influenza or flu lasts for one to two weeks. Recovering completely from it may not occur at all times. For people who’ve taken the flu shot, the symptoms may last for a time or may be less severe. For other people, at times, the symptoms may last longer even after taking treatment. Some minor symptoms like weakness and dry cough may linger for weeks. And, they can make you feel a little ill more so during the flu season months, which coincide with the cold dry winter.
The flu aftercare plan or the flu recovery plan has been formulated to help adults and children recover from the flu after-effects as quickly as possible.
These after-effects can make you feel unwell for quite some time and it is the aftercare tips that will help you recuperate faster. These are tips formulated to take care of the flu patient at home post recovery and are easy to follow. You don’t need a doctor to help you with them.
The patient can pass on the virus a day before he or she develops the flu symptoms and for up to a week after the symptoms have developed. Children can be contagious for a longer time – for 10 days after the symptoms have set in.
However, you can return to work 48 hours after your main symptoms, especially fever, have abated if you feel up to it.
Know that the flu virus can stay in your body for 5 to 6 weeks after your symptoms have cleared. You will, of course not be contagious for that long.
What are the flu after effects?
You can divide the after side effects of the flu illness into two types:
- The first type corresponds to the mild effects that you may experience after the sickness has subsided. They are more common than the second type.
- Generalized weakness
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain predominantly in the back and the legs
- Lack of energy to do daily household chores
- Dry cough may persist
These minor effects may last for 5 to 6 weeks.
- The second group of after effects correspond to the flu complications you see in 5% of the patients. These are serious and require a doctor to treat them
They are more common in people who fall in the flu high-risk group. Such people include:
- children under 5 years of age
- the elderly above the age of 65 years
- people with pre-existing health conditions such as heart problems, neurological disorders, lung diseases
- pregnant women
- people with a compromised immune system, which could be due to a variety of reasons
These after-effects, referred to more commonly as complications, are serious health conditions and can have dangerous consequences. People who fall victim to these complications face the danger of being hospitalized.
People have died due to these complications. According to WHO, about 250 000 to 500 000 deaths occur worldwide every year due to the flu. This post on flu deaths gives you more detailed statistics.
The complications can appear just as you are recovering from this illness and the symptoms are subsiding.
Flu aftercare at home
Having seen these worrisome figures and the timing of the complications, it becomes all the more imperative to follow the flu DIY aftercare tips religiously.
They will help take care of your body after the fever has cleared. They also help to recover faster from some of the after-effects. Follow them for a good 15 days.
These do’s and don’ts are what the flu aftercare is all about.
- Sleep well. An eight-hour sleep every day improves your immune system and helps to fight the virus.
- Drink plenty of fluids because you have lost body fluids during your fever.
- Stick to a nourishing diet. Have five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Having chicken and fish will also be great. All these, besides other nutrients, contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent a host of health conditions and they significantly improve your immune system.
- Get some sun. You have been indoors when sick and you need that vitamin D. It improves your resistance power against many illnesses. The outdoors will also liven up your energy and mood.
- Drink a glass of water to which lemon and honey have been added – lemon for its vitamin C and honey for its antioxidant properties. Honey will also clear up the throat irritation and cough.
- Eat garlic, about four cloves daily, for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Add grated ginger root to your cup of tea or coffee. It helps to get rid of that feverish feeling and will soothe your throat irritation and cough.
- A warm bath in the tub will help clear out the viruses from your body. A warm environment is detrimental to the survival of the virus.
- Avoid stress as it lowers your immunity and can make you play host to a variety of health conditions. Meditation can help you in this regard.
- Post recovery from flu, physical activity is essential. You could indulge in a brisk walk or go swimming every day for about 30 minutes. Do not overdo it. Increase the duration gradually till you are comfortable with the 30 minutes.
- Drink alcohol
- Eat dairy foods
- Exercise too hard
- Drink too much tea and coffee. A cup or two during the day should be fine.
- Eat sugary foods
- Eat bakery products
- Don’t overexert.