How to Survive the Flu Season

Staff Writer
USA Vanguard
University of South Alabama

It’s that time of year again when the temperature gets cooler, the humidity drops, and the flu season begins. We all hope that dreadful sickness does not occur to us, especially during exam time. That’s when we need our energy the most.

Influenza, known as the flu, is an upper viral respiratory illness that comes on suddenly, causing many symptoms, such as a fever of 100-104 degrees F that can reach 106 degrees F. Other symptoms also include shaking chills, body aches and muscle pain common in the back, arms, or legs. A headache, pain when eyes are moved, fatigue or loss of appetite, dry cough, runny nose, and dry sore throat are also some symptoms.

Although these can be the same symptoms as your common cold, you should be concerned with the coming of the flu as these symptoms progress. Sometimes the illness will lead to bacterial infection such as ear or sinus infection or bronchitis.

Here are a few tips to help prevent the flu: 1. Wash your hands; the flu usually comes from direct contact. 2. Don’t cover your sneezes or coughs with your hands, instead use a tissue. 3. Don’t touch your face. 4. Drink plenty of fluids – at least 8 oz. a day, especially orange juice that’s rich in vitamins. 5. Get fresh air. 6. Do aerobic exercises to speed up the heart to pump larger quantities of blood. This makes you breathe faster to help transfer oxygen from your lungs to your blood, and makes you sweat once your body heats up.

According to the WebMD guide at, these exercises help increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells. 7. Eat foods containing Phytochemicals. 8. Eat yogurt. 9. Don’t smoke. 10. Don’t drink alcohol. 11. Relax. You can relax your immune system this way. 12. And of course take the flu shot. If you do consider the shot, take it in October or November. This vaccine effectively prevents most cases of the flu, although success rates vary to age, health status, and how closely the virus strains contained in the vaccine matches those that are circulating through the population.

If this dreadful illness does happen to you, here are some helpful at-home treatment tips that may prevent these infections. Take non-prescription flu remedies such as a simple pain reliever, or a fever reducer such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen.

Decongestants and nasal sprays help relieve pressure and pain from swollen tissues in the face and behind the eardrum. For cough relief, you can drink fluids or take non-prescription cough medicine. Of course, get extra rest.

I hope that this miserable sickness does not occur to anyone because it takes time away from our studies and our free time that we enjoy. Good luck through this flu season.