Nobody wants to be down with the flu, but it is one of the most common health conditions that people battle on a regular basis. This is especially true during certain seasons, when the weather does weird things to your body, making you feel like you are definitely not on the peak of your health. In the following sections, we will take a quick look at the symptoms of flu, what can be done about it, and what the frugal ways are to combat flu this summer.
Is Flu Common during the Summer Season?
The percentage of Americans sick with a cold or flu in December from 2009 to 2014 is as follows:
- 2009 – 2.5%
- 2010 – 2.8%
- 2011 – 2.8%
- 2012 – 3.2%
- 2013 – 2.8%
- 2014 – 4%
The percentage of Americans who were sick with a cold is higher, with 8.7% in 2009 and 11.6% in 2014. Since these numbers are for December, it pretty much means that the flu is pretty common during the winter season. Can you actually acquire it in the summer? Although winter is considered as the flu season, it can occur any time of the year. Those who think that they had the flu during the summer might have confused the symptoms with other health conditions, so it’s definitely a must to learn exactly what the signs of influenza are.
Most people mistake flu with gastroenteritis or stomach flu. This can afflict anyone year-round, and the symptoms include vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. You might also be experiencing a viral illness which has symptoms similar to those of flu –but is not really caused by influenza. So what are the symptoms of flu caused by the influenza virus?
- Body aches
- Runny, stuffy nose
The common cold and flu have similar symptoms, so it’s quite difficult to tell them apart. A general practitioner can conduct a test to determine if you do have the flu, and it generally has worse symptoms than the common cold. You should seek medical attention if the above symptoms are combined with breathing difficulties, discoloration of the lips, pain in the chest, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe vomiting, and seizures.
Typically, the treatment for flu is no more than bed rest and lots of fluid. Some doctors might prescribe antiviral medications or you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Of course, prevention is better than cure so if you can stay at the peak of your health and avoid it as much as possible, all the better.
10 Frugal Ways to Combat Flu this Summer
Now that you already have an idea about the most common symptoms of flu, what are the frugal ways for you to combat it this summer? Take a look at our top ten list:
1. Make it a habit to wash your hands.
Individuals who have flu can spread the virus to other who are up to six feet away. If you got sneezed on or coughed on by someone who has the flu, the droplets can land in the mouth or nose and possibly be inhaled into the lungs, which can cause the virus to spread as well. Although it’s a lesser probability, touching the surface of an object which had contact with someone who has the flu can also be a cause of you acquiring the illness.
To avoid contracting the flu, it is best to always make it a point to wash your hands. Soap and water is best, although you can always use alcohol or hand sanitizer if a washroom is not easily accessible.
Carry a hand sanitizer with you everywhere. To save money, visit a dollar store and stock up, especially when the flu season arrives. You can use the huge bottle at home, and use its contents to refill smaller containers which you can always carry inside your bag. If you’re worried about harsh chemicals coming in contact with your kids’ skin, there are plenty of online recipes on how you can make your own hand sanitizer. Add a drop or two of essential oils to make your hands smell nice after sanitizing.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze.
The flu is contagious, and even healthy adults can infect others a day before any symptoms develop. Five to seven days after becoming sick, you might still be able to spread the infection. Even if you do not have the flu yet, contain your coughs and sneezes by covering your mouth and nose. Better yet, sneeze into a tissue paper or the inner crook of your elbow. Sanitize your hands right after so that your hands will not spread any infection.
3. Steer clear of crowds as much as possible.
Flu can easily spread wherever there are crowds. To make sure that you will not get infected, avoid crowds as much as you can so that you can reduce the risks of infection. If you are the one who’s sick, stay at home so that you won’t infect other people. If you’re living with family members, you might have to stay confined inside your bedroom so as not to spread the virus inside the house.
4. Eat better.
If you have a strong immune system, you are less likely to have the flu because your body will resist the virus from entering in the first place. How can you build up your immune system? Boost your intake of natural vitamin C by eating lots of vegetables and fruits, especially citrus ones. Steer clear of junk food to build up your immune system even more.
5. Sleep more.
If you’re always lacking in sleep, you will feel lethargic throughout the day, and your immune system might get weak. Getting enough shut-eye during the night will help you stay away from any kind of sickness, especially during the flu season.
How many times have you heard the advice that you need to drink plenty of water every day? Not only does it prevent you from getting sick, but it also flushes out the harsh toxins from your system.
The influenza virus can easily spread during the colder months of the year because it loves very dry environments. At home, your heating system will be working over time to ward off the cold so it is easier for the flu virus to stay in the air longer. What you can do is to humidify your home, even before you get sick. If you do get sick, run the humidifier while you are resting to clear your nasal cavities. The same thing holds true for steam.
8. Remember that prevention is better than cure.
Once you know that the flu season is about to arrive, state to kick up your vitamin C intake – both the supplement and the natural sources of vitamin C. If you feel the onset of a cough or the common cold, take over-the-counter medication, get plenty of sleep and eat the right food. This way, you can prevent the common cold or fever from developing into outright flu.
9. Drink lots of tea.
Drinking water’s a good way to hydrate, but you can take things one step further by substituting H2O with tea. Hot ginger tea helps stimulate the nerves which produce mucus. To save money, simply boil some freshly sliced or grated ginger, then place in a tea strainer. Steep for five minutes, and drink while hot.
10. Get a flu shot.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for all Americans over the age of six months. The formulation of the seasonal flu vaccine contains protection from three or four of the most common viruses expected to hit during the flu season for the year that it’s administered.
The flu vaccine typically comes in nasal spray or injection form. Although flu shots or influenza vaccines are not 100% effective, it still pays to protect yourself from contracting such an illness. Always visit sites like CDC.gov to determine what the latest updates are about the flu season for the current year.
To save money on flu shots, you can use online coupons or discounts. Sites like Life Source Direct lets you save as much as 30% from flu shots at certain retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco, Walgreens, and RiteAid. There are also chain pharmacies which offer coupons and discounts for flu shots. For most Medicare Part B participants, flu shots are free.
There are also some employers who offer all their employees the benefit of getting flu shots at discounted rates, or for free. According to Consumer Reports, getting a flu shot will prevent the illness from occurring in about 80% of younger people, and 50% of those who are 65 years old and up.
If you would like to have a flu shot for free, check out the programs offered by your city, county or state health department. There are federally funded health care centers that offer flu shots for free, as well as charitable clinics.
As you can see, there are many frugal ways to combat flu during the summer and winter season, so fight the disease by following the aforementioned tips.