Why Rest is Important When You Have the Flu

We may still be in the hot, dog days of summer here in Texas, but with the approach of fall and the cooler temperatures comes the return of another flu season.

At Integrative Primary Care in Houston, our team, led by Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, wants to help you stay healthy and flu-free this year. But, we know that no matter how healthy you are and what preventive measures you take, the flu can still strike. 

In fact, about 10-50 million Americans get the flu every year. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease your symptoms and say goodbye to the flu faster. Our practice offers flu vaccines as well as flu treatment, but there are things you can do to help get rid of it faster. And one of those things is getting plenty of rest. In this blog, we explain what the flu is and why rest is important.

What is the flu?

Influenza, most commonly referred to simply as the “flu,” is a type of respiratory illness. It’s caused by different strains and types of influenza viruses. While it’s possible to contract the flu at any time of year, cases are more common during the fall and winter months, which is why people call this period of time the “flu season.” 

The flu is highly contagious and affects the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts. While most people who get the flu recover without complications, young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems or preexisting respiratory conditions are at a higher risk for developing complications.

Symptoms of the flu can vary, but they usually include:

Because the flu is a viral infection, antibiotics can’t treat it. Depending on the type of flu you have, antiviral medications may help shorten its duration and reduce the severity of your symptoms.

Is COVID-19 the same as the flu?

No. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are similar, the illnesses are not the same. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while the flu is caused by different types and strains of influenza viruses. 

However, COVID-19 shares many symptoms with the flu, and the same type of treatment is required for both COVID-19 and influenza, since neither respond to antibiotics. The treatment involves addressing the symptoms as your immune system fights off the virus. 

Why is rest the key to recovering from the flu?

Along with hydrating and using medicines to alleviate your symptoms, rest is the key to recovering from the flu. This involves staying home to give your body rest and time to build up energy to fight off the virus.

While resting on the couch with your favorite TV shows or books is helpful during the day, be sure to sleep as much as possible. That’s because sleep gives your body time to focus on boosting your immune system to fight off the disease.

What’s more? Studies show that sleep promotes the development of a special protein in your brain that helps keep your immune system healthy and better able to fight off infections.

What can I do to fight the flu?

If you want a flu vaccine, Dr. Zaidi can give you a nasal or injectable vaccine to help keep you from getting sick. In addition, if you suspect you have the flu, Dr. Zaidi can provide treatment to help shorten its duration and help relieve symptoms. 

To learn more about the flu and how you can treat it, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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